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IWCP - International Women's Club of Paraná

Health & Emergency

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Health & Emergency
Dangerous Insects
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Emergency numbers:
·         Police (Polícia Militar)                                          190
·         First Aid (Pronto Socorro)                                 192
·         Firemen (Corpo de Bombeiros)                        193
·         Traffic Accidents (Acidentes de Trânsito)      194

If these numbers are busy telephone the Operator at 100,  and they will connect you directly to Fire, Police or Ambulance Services.

The public ambulance service, Siate - 193, responds mostly to road accidents. They will also respond to heart attacks in the home as well, but not for other medical emergencies.

For other emergencies you must sign up (in advance) for a private emergency service. More than an ambulance, these services provide on the spot emergency care, including things like stitches for cuts. If they can't adequately treat the problem they will transport you to the hospital. There are a number of companies offering private emergency services, such as Ecco-Salva 342-5858 and Resgate Medico 200-1900. Also, many of the health insurance companies offer their own services.

Emergency Rooms (Pronto Socorro)
There are Pronto Socorros located around town. They are usually well sign posted, but it is worth finding the one nearest to your house before you need it. Be aware that quite a lot of the hospitals in Curitiba are specialised (maternity, burns, etc.), and many do not have emergency rooms.

See also the Dangerous Insects Page for information on Curitiba's Brown Recluse spider (Aranha Marron) and Caterpillar.

Some the link at the bottom of this page for a listing of the major hospitals with Emergency Rooms, as well as doctors by specialty.

General standards of health and medicine in Curitiba
* The water in Curitiba is chlorinated, fluoridated and safe to drink.
* Wash (or peel) all fresh fruit and vegetables before using them.
* Although there are regular warnings, cholera has not been a problem in Curitiba
* Medical care, as anywhere, varies, but there are plenty of first rate doctors (many of who have some English, often as a result of having done some part of their training in the US) in Curitiba. Similarly, as you will be staying in private hospitals, you will find the standard of care quite good.

Health Insurance

You can get good health insurance cover either locally or on an expatriate basis and you must have a visa to be able to claim.

The major health insurance companies in Curitiba are Unimed, Golden Cross, Saude Bradesco and Amil. You are required to use doctors that are affiliated with them (some doctors have multiple affiliations). Routine dental care is generally not covered, nor is childbirth unless you have been on the plan for at least 10 months. Your company may offer one of these schemes; If not you can join on an independent basis. Check in advance what the coverage is in other parts of Brazil there are some significant differences. None of these plans cover you for anything outside of Brazil.

Although the coverage and selection of doctors are good, sometimes it can slow down your ability to get appointments, especially for specialists or specialized testing. You will always be asked when you are making the appointment if payment will be convenio (insurance) or particular (cash); you may be asked which convenio. Even emergency rooms (unless the case is life threatening) you can be treated more quickly if you are particular. You will be required to pay a deposit, however urgent the case, before admission to an intensive care unit. Take a cheque book or credit card and your identity card.

Expatriate health insurance is insurance provided by overseas companies for people living and working abroad. Although many of them are based in Europe, you do not have to be a citizen of the country where the company is based.

Typically they offer a choice of service levels, which are priced for the amount of coverage provided, both in terms of care provided and areas of the world in which you are covered. If you do much traveling outside of Brazil this may be a good option for you, as the local companies do not cover medical bills outside of Brazil.

Also, you usually have the choice of where you have procedures done, so that if you want to have a procedure done outside of Brazil (say, in your home country) it may be covered. Payment can be direct to the doctor or to the hospital (if you arrange for it in advance), otherwise you make the payment and the firm reimburses you.

There are a variety of ways to pay your premium, the easiest being automatic charge on your credit card. Expatriate insurance plans advertise regularly in the International Herald Tribune (which you can get in São Paulo), The Economist, and other international publications. Two of the better know companies are PPP Group, based in the UK (phone 44-1892-512345, fax 44-1892-505678), and International Health Insurance, based in Denmark (phone 45-33153099, fax 45-33-322560).

Doctors & Dentists

To make an appointment ask for a consulta. You will find that you have to play an active role in your medical care.

For example, if you need tests done your doctor will send you to a lab or facility. You have the test and pay for it (if it's not covered by insurance). Then you either wait for the results or return to collect them, and finally deliver them to the doctor who ordered them. If tests are performed in the doctor's office you will be responsible for following up on the results.

You will not generally be reminded about follow up or annual visits. Remember to keep your immunization records with you, especially when traveling to the north of Brazil or to other South American countries ( this is especially true for Yellow Fever).

All required childhood vaccinations except HIB/HBCV are done at public clinics - free - not in doctors' offices. HIB/HBCV is not yet required in Brazil, so you have to go to a separate clinic, which will charge you for the vaccination. In both cases, your pediatrician will tell you where to go.

Finally, many Brazilian doctors are not accustomed to explaining very much, so if that is important to you, make sure that your doctor knows that, and keep asking questions. A good general medical reference book in your own language can be very useful.


DAPI - Diag. Avançado por Imagem (24 hour service)
Rua Brigadeiro Franco, 122 Mercês, phone 3335-2325

Rua Ângelo Sampaio, 1299, phone 3340-8282
11 satellite labs - central no. 0800-415858
(You can readily access your results via internet)

Finding a Doctor

People will of course be happy to give you recommendations - ask the professionals that you are working with, and other expatriates to help you get started. If you are using a local health plan you will be given a listing of all of the participating doctors, by specialty.

For those doctors that you will expect to need (general practitioner, pediatrician, others), it is good idea to interview several in advance. Prepare a short list of questions (such as how they handle emergencies, night & weekend coverage, what hospitals they use, views on medications/surgery, etc.), and make appointments with 2-4 doctors for and introductory consulta (you should not be charged for this meeting). Many doctors speak and/or understand English or other languages (especially German and Spanish).


Farmácias are used as general medical clinics in Brazil - everything from blood pressure to flu shots to penicillin injections, even some first aid. Although every package seems to be marked 'by prescription only', in practice you don't seem to need a prescription for most things. When you are looking for a particular medicine from home, write down the name(s) and amount of the active ingredient(s) (or take the package insert). The brands may be different, but you will probably be able to find what you are looking for.

In every area there is at least one farmácia that is open nights, weekends and holidays; look around or ask before you run into a crisis. Finally, although it does not seem to be a problem in Curitiba, always check the expiration date of any medication you are given.

Drugstores that deliver (24 hour service)

Drogamed Express 3322-0922
Minerva em Casa 3362-1999
Farmarede 3322-0300

Please click here for a list of hospitals and doctors by specialty.

The IWCP is a non-profit, non-secretarian, non-political organization whose main purpose is to provide a forum through which international women can meet in Curitiba.