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Lúcia Gaspar
Joaquim Nabuco Foundation Librarian
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Public health physician Amaury de Medeiros was born in Recife, on December 7 1893, in a house located in the neighbourhood of Parnamirim, to Professor Bianor de Medeiros and Maria Candida Góes Loreto de Medeiros, from the family of Judge GóesCavalcanti.

He studiedhigh school atthe Pernambuco Gymnasiumand graduated in medicine from the University of Rio de Janeiro, being the valedictorian of his class.

In 1917, he headed the clinical services of the Brazilian Red Cross and was also a teacher in the institution’sNursing Course. A year later, he was elected Secretary General of the entity and was appointed to the position of director of its hospital, when he had to face a major influenza epidemic that swept the country.

In 1919, at only 26 years of age, he was chosen by President Epitácio Pessoa to represent Brazil at the Congress of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland. He also represented the country in the Pan-American Congress of Hygiene during the ArthurBernardes government.

From 1922 to 1926, during the government of Sérgio Loreto (his father-in-law), he was appointed director of the PernambucoDepartment of Health and Welfare (DSA). His work as head of the DSA revolutionised medicine and hygiene in the State. He reformed the health care system in Recife and in the state’s interior, redesignedOswaldo Cruz Hospital and the Hospital for Nervous and Mental Diseases (Tamarineira Hospital) and created the Inspectorateand the Body of Health Visitors,and was a pioneer in solutions to the problem of hovels in Recife, organizing the Fundação Casa Operária(Workers’ House Foundation), which built the villages of Arraial, Torre and Afogados.

Hewas a pioneer in establishingpre-nuptial examination and prevention of venereal diseases, creating service care units for venereal diseases; he created the Inspectorateof Tuberculosis Prevention, linked to the Department of Rural Sanitation; fought malaria, yellow fever, smallpox and bubonic plague with prophylactic measures, among other diseases. In 1924 and 1925,there was not one single caseof bubonic plague registered in Recife.

After his tenure in public health in Pernambuco, Amaury de Medeiros was elected federal representative, moving definitively to Rio de Janeiro in early 1927. As a parliamentarian, he introduced a bill creating the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

He wrote, among other books: Um grito de alarma(An Alarm Cry), Cruzada sanitária (Health Crusade) and Atos de fé(Acts of faith).Before his departure from the Department of Health and Welfare of Pernambuco, he also published a volume of almost 600 pages, entitled Saúde e assistência(Health and Care) about the achievements of his administration in the organ.

He died on 3December 1928, on the eve of turning36, the victim of an accident in Rio de Janeiro. From on-board an airplane, he was going to pay tribute to Santos Dumont by throwing flowers on the deck of the ship CapArcona, which was bringing the “Father of Aviation”back to Brazil. A friend of his, Colonel Taumaturgo de Farias, had a foreboding feeling and advised him not to embark. The advice was ignored, and Amaury de Medeiros was killed when the plane broke in half and crashed.


Recife, 24 July 2003.

(Updated on 20 August 2009).


Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2012.


OLIVEIRA, Valdemar de. No tempo de Amaury. [Recife]: Cepe, 1975.

SILVA, Jorge Fernandes da. Vidas que não morrem. Recife: Governo de Pernambuco, Secretaria de Educação, Departamento de Cultura, 1982. p. 49-51.


Fonte: GASPAR, Lúcia. Amaury de Medeiros. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.



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