Editor's note: This post was written by Vanuza Ramos, a Brazilian journalist and collaborator with Ashoka Changemakers.
In 1991, Dr. Vera Cordeiro realized that the real cause of most pediatric visits to a public hospital in Rio de Janeiro wasn’t illness or accident: it was the children’s living conditions.
“When the patient is discharged, they normally return to their homes, to a social context of vulnerability where they lack conditions to continue treatment,” Cordeiro said. “This makes the condition worsen and the patient must return to the hospital, which is yet another problem for a family already weakened by adverse economic and social realities.”
With other professionals from the Lagoa Hospital technical staff, Dr. Cordeiro set out to break the cycle of hospitalization, discharge, and readmission by transforming the lives of the children and their families. They founded the Saúde Criança Association (ASC) to promote the physical, mental, and social health of children who were patients that were recently released to their families living below the poverty line.