Renascer’s innovative approach to treating sick children from Brazil’s poverty-ridden urban slums has improved the living and economic conditions of entire families. By addressing the underlying socioeconomic causes of illness instead of just treating the symptoms of disease, Renacer has dramatically reduced the number of children who are readmitted to hospitals for treatment of poverty-related illnesses. Renascer provides counseling, support and resources for families in five key areas: health, family income generation, housing, education and documentation of citizenship. Low-income families who work with Renascer commit to participating in the program, usually over the course of two years, and agree to achieve specific goals related to bettering their economic and living conditions. A study of Renascer’s impact on 142 families showed a 63 percent reduction in the number of children readmitted to the hospital. In addition, three-quarters of the families increased their income by an average of 46 percent and the number of children achieving “good” health status doubled.
Renascer has successfully replicated its model to 14 other locations, but its long-term goal is to have centers in all of Brazil’s 1,225 public hospitals and to expand to other Latin American countries.