More Doctors Program: context of implementation and effect on the provision of primary health care physicians in Brazil, 2008-2016

Pinto Junior et al.


To characterize the Brazilian municipalities in each More Doctors Program (MDP) priority profile and to assess the effect of the program on the emergency supply of primary care physicians in Brazil according to implementation context.


An interrupted time-series analysis (ITSA) was performed, considering as outcome the rate of primary care physicians/10 000 inhabitants in Brazil and within each MDP implementation context. Monthly data were collected from January 2008 to December 2016. The intervention was considered to have started in July 2013, when the MDP was officially created. The municipalities were characterized according to demographic, socioeconomic, health care service, and physician distribution variables.


Establishment of the MDP was associated with increased rate of primary care physicians in all priority profiles, especially in municipalities in which at least 20% of the population lived in poverty. Furthermore, the study showed significant differences among Brazilian municipalities in socioeconomic aspects, health care service organization, and availability of primary care physicians, even within the same MDP implementation context.


The MDP has contributed to reduce the shortage and improve the distribution of primary care physicians in Brazil, thus reducing inequalities in access to services. Consequently, the MDP was successful in its emergency supply of physicians, having become an important strategy to strengthen primary health care and the Brazilian Unified Health System.

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