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Brazil, the largest country in South America, is famous for its rainforest, the huge Amazon river, and its coffee, gold, and diamonds. The country has 1243 miles of Atlantic coastline and has a diverse population based on the original Indians, Portuguese colonisers, and the African slaves brought to work in the sugar plantations. Over the last century many of the Indian villages have been wiped out by disease or by Western force; the total number of Indians is now only 200 000.
For those who can afford it, private health care is good. For most of the population, however, health care is much sparser. Only 20% of the country's hospitals are state run. Infectious diseases are increasing, in particular malaria, leprosy, and parasitic skin infections. This is because of the lack of preventive medicine, for which Brazil has been …