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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 March, 2005, 03:43 GMT
Army to set up second Rio clinic
By Tom Gibb
BBC News, Brazil

Brazilian military doctors treat a woman in a field hospital
The mayor objects to the military being brought into healthcare
Brazil's armed forces have been given the go-ahead by a federal judge to set up a second emergency field hospital in a park in the centre of Rio de Janeiro.

The plan is opposed by the city's mayor, Cesar Maia.

The federal government took over the six major hospitals in Rio earlier this month after emergency units shut down for lack of funds.

The health emergency in Rio is part of a long-running dispute between central government and the city's mayor.

The government stepped in after waiting lists for operations reached over 15,000 and emergency units shut down for lack of money, medicine and equipment.

The health ministry is now in the process of trying to recruit more staff for the hospitals.

In the meantime, it has asked the military to set up field hospitals to help alleviate the demand.

Mayor Maia has strongly protested that the state of Rio's hospitals is not his fault, but results from lack of central government funding.

He went to court to try to stop the navy setting up a field hospital in a central park, saying this would constitute a crime against the city and endanger the park's monuments and fauna.

But a judge has now ruled the park can be used.

The air force have already set up one hospital capable of treating 400 people a day; the navy hospital should be able to treat 600 people.

With Rio's mayor expected to be a main challenger in presidential elections next year, his increasingly shrill political battle with the central government looks set to continue well into the future.

Military stems Rio health crisis
21 Mar 05 |  Americas

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