Dr Matthew Harris, academic clinical lecturer at Imperial College London, said home visits in Brazil were made by community health workers who had one to two months' training. These workers covered small areas and were fully integrated into primary care.
In their monthly visit to every household, they collect data and provide health promotion, clinical triage, support people to take up screening programmes and ensured all children were immunised.
He told the RCGP annual conference: ‘They’ve scaled it across the whole country now and there are 250,000 community workers.’
As a result, Brazil has seen a drop in infant mortality from 64 to 17 deaths per 1,000.
‘They have also seen an improvement in rates of breast-feeding and immunisations,’ said Dr Harris.
In Brazil, there is no patient choice and all households are registered to a primary care centre comprising a GP, nurse and nurse auxiliary.
In spite of differences between Brazil and UK, the Betsi Cadwaladr University health board, which provides acute and community health services to six counties in north Wales, is looking at adopting the community worker model.