Skoll Foundation


Associação Saúde Criança

Skoll Entrepreneur(s): Vera Cordeiro
Award Year: 2006
Focus Area(s) Addressed: Healthcare Access and Treatment

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In her work as a physician in a public hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Vera Cordeiro felt helpless when children who were successfully treated for an infectious disease returned to the hospital and died from the same disease after being reinfected at home. Vera realized that to save these children, she must help their entire family. She raffled off her own belongings to start Associação Saúde Criança Renascer (Brazil Child Health Association) in 1991. Despite early resistance from social workers who felt she was interfering, Vera persevered, recruiting and training volunteers who, together with the staff of Saúde Criança, worked one-on-one with poor families to give them dignity and self-sustainability.


  • A recent study conducted by three researchers from Georgetown University found that the organization produced surprisingly strong results — including an 85 percent decrease in hospitalizations and a 92 percent increase in household income — results sustained years after the program stopped working with the families.
  • Saúde Criança’s model has been replicated at 23 other institutes in 6 states across Brazil.  Since inception, Saúde Criança has helped more than 43,000 people. Saúde Criança has 10 franchises in Brazil, along with an office in New York, Brazil Child Health.
  • Saúde Criança’s methodology was incorporated into public policy in Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third largest city, and later adopted in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Services include: providing sick children with special milk and diapers; feeding families through its family food basket; sponsoring professional courses to empower mothers to become independent; and providing water and sanitation.
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