Rio declares health emergency
Medical and health workers protest against the working conditions in public hospitals in Rio de Janeiro  in 2013Getty Images

The governor of Brazil's state of Rio de Janeiro has declared a health sector emergency as public hospitals have limited services. The state faces a huge budget crisis, with a lack of proper funding for hospitals.

Hospitals have to often turn away patients because they don't have funds to cover the costs of surgeries and key medical supplies, AFP reported. "Rio's hospitals are in a catastrophic situation, we don't have anything to work with," said Barbara Bastos, a 30-year-old surgical resident. "We've already had to cancel operations, some pharmacies and emergency rooms have closed, and all that when we have patients in serious condition."

As many as 15 outpatient clinics were reportedly closed early this week in Rio which will host the Olympics in 2016. Some hospitals are displaying boards saying that only people at risk of death would be attended to, according to the report. In the municipality of Mesquita, a woman gave birth on the sidewalk outside a hospital since it could not afford to admit her.

Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao's move has helped restore emergency services at some hospitals. The federal government has donated equipments and other surgical items ranging from gloves to needles and orthopedic prostheses worth $5m (£3.4m) to these hospitals, Pezao said in a statement.

He said that federal funds were being also used in the settlement of hospitals' debts with suppliers. The government will donate about $3.8m (£2.5m) more by the end of December and an additional $19m (£12m) will be transferred to the state on 10 January, the governor said.

"We hope to normalise payments next week," Pezao told media. "It's not ideal but the minimum required so the network can function."