Brazil's World Cup hangover leads to overcrowded health clinics next to empty stadiums

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"For lack of human resources, only patients at risk of death will be attended to," reads a hastily printed sign taped to window of a crowded public health clinic in Brazil's capital.


For many Brazilians, that sign symbolizes the realization of a fear that the government can't cash the check it wrote for last year's World Cup.

The country's World Cup hangover is particularly grim in Brasilia, the city that last year spent $900 million to refurbish the the Mane Garrincha soccer stadium and is now in a state of health emergency after public sector doctors went on strike to demand full pay.


The city government also released a report this week saying that the stadium is drawing such little income that it would take about 1,000 years for their investment to pay off.

Critics call the stadium a "white elephant," in part because Brasilia doesn't even have its own professional soccer team in the first or second divisions. With no home team to host, the venue is used for concerts and occasional friendly matches by visiting teams. Last year the  stadium raked in only $1.3 million, according to the AFP.

Meanwhile, doctors have gone on strike after not receiving their last paycheck in 2014, or overtime pay for October and November, according to Globo. Patients are now forced to go from clinic to clinic in search of medical treatment.


"Brazil is a rich country with one of the highest GDPs in the world, but it’s also a country of tremendous inequalities," Gil Castelo Branco, a spokesperson for the activist group Contas Abertas (Open Accounts), told Fusion. "And these inequalities are visible at moments like this, in which we see that we have some of the most expensive stadiums in the world, but serious problems when it comes to health, education and security.

"It’s a country of contrasts," he added. "On the one hand we have one of the worlds most expensive stadiums, and on the other we have a doctor’s strike, in the same city."


@JaredGoyette is a digital news editor at Fusion.

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