Moving is always a complicated matter, and doing so with children is even more difficult. This article explains some precautions relating to health that must be taken when relocating with children to Brazil.
Many factors must be considered when moving to a different location, especially if the new destination is a country with as many peculiarities as Brazil.
One of a parents’ main concerns in relation to their children is the issue of health. Are children exposed to new diseases? What vaccines need to be taken? Is health insurance necessary?
These questions are frequently asked by families relocating to Brazil. Although there are variations according to the state in Brazil where the family is going to relocate, some actions and precautions can be adopted as standard procedure.
The vaccination requirements for children in Brazil have some differences compared to other countries such as the United States, but the variations are not very significant.
Some vaccines are not required in countries like the United States because the disease has been completely or nearly eradicated, for example, the vaccination against tuberculosis is not needed in the United States but is still required in Brazil. There are other diseases that are seen only in tropical areas, such as yellow fever which is required for residents of Brazil.
The complete list of required vaccinations as recommended by Sociedade Brasileira de Imunizações (Brazilian Society of Immunizations, or SBIm) can be found on their website, in Portuguese. The vaccines are:
- BCG ID, to prevent tuberculosis
- Hepatitis B
- DTP, to prevent diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis
- Haemophilus influenzae b
- Conjugated Pneumococcal
- Conjugated Meningococcal
- Yellow fever
- Hepatitis A
- MMR, to prevent measles, mumps and rubella
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
A common concern among parents relocating to Brazil is how exposed their children will be living in a new country, with a different climate and different people. But measures are usually not so different from those taken abroad.
Precautions taken in Rio de Janeiro and in London are very similar: be current on vaccinations, eat healthily, protect them from abrupt temperature changes, be aware of basic hygiene and always look for health assistance if needed.
Unfortunately, in poorer regions of Brazil, some of these precautions are not always possible, leading to cases of disease that could be otherwise be avoided. Some of the most common health problems among children between the ages of 0 to 15 in Brazil as a whole are:
- Flus and colds
- Pharyngitis, tonsillitis, otitis
- Asthma and Bronchitis
Some diseases are associated more with children, even though the number of cases are lower than the types above. Examples are varicella, measles and rubella (which the country considers extinct nowadays in Brazilian territory).
Health and Life Insurance
Brazil does have a public health system that offers most procedures and examinations for free. However, the quality of this service is questionable in some cases, and many prefer to have private health insurance to assure more qualified, efficient services. As a rule of thumb, in Brazil, health insurance plans are recommended for anyone that can afford them.
There are many players in the Brazilian market, including some widely known in other countries. Some care must be taken, however, when choosing a health insurance company for your children. General recommendations are:
- Check the reputation of the company
- Check if it offers regional or nationwide coverage
- See which services are covered by the company and which are not
- Access the website of Agência Nacional de Saúde (ANS, or National Health Agency) for additional information about health insurance companies
Life insurance for children, on the other hand, is not very common in Brazil, although some companies offer this product. The decision is really up to the family; just remember that the recommendations above are also valid for life insurance and might be important during the decision making process.