Perceptions and experiences regarding the impact of race on the quality of healthcare in Southeast Brazil: a qualitative study

Aneela Chauhan, Gilles de Wildt, Marcos da Cunha Lopes Virmond, Derek Kyte, Noemi Garcia de Almeida Galan, Renata Bilion Ruiz Prado, Vidya Shyam-Sundar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To explore the impact of race on the quality of healthcare received by patients attending a primary care centre in Brazil.

DESIGN: This was a qualitative study consisting of 19 semi-structured interviews conducted on patients from six racial groups (as defined in Brazil as white, yellow, brown, black and indigenous and one self-identified 'other' group). The interviews were analysed using thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Four main themes were identified during analysis; factors affecting the access to healthcare, experiences regarding quality of healthcare, discrimination in healthcare and deep-rooted societal discrimination, which were categorised into a number of sub-themes. Within these themes, interviewees reported (1) experiences of racism in society towards the black racial group, (2) one personal perception and two observations of racial discrimination in healthcare, (3) perceived racial discrimination due to healthcare professional behaviour and (4) other factors, such as delays in appointments and long waiting times in health facilities were felt to impact access to care.

CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that racial discrimination exists in Brazilian society but its direct impact on healthcare access was felt to be less obvious. Instead, organisational level factors were felt to contribute to difficulty accessing care. Interviewees perceived that racial discrimination may affect the quality of care, particularly for those designated as 'black'. Socio-economic factors were felt to influence discrimination in healthcare. The findings can help inform further studies and educational initiatives to help address discrimination and access to healthcare in Brazil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalEthnicity & Health
Early online date24 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jan 2018


  • racial discrimination
  • race
  • accessibility
  • healthcare
  • Brazil


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