“The Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth Initiative is very important because we, the Mayors, are the first and the most relevant ones to unravel the inequalities in our societies. As a Mayor, I have engaged with local communities and civil society to tackle poverty and fight social inequalities, and developed several programmes to help the low-income families.”
– Mayor Ricardo Rio
Ricardo Rio has been the Mayor of Braga since 2013, the third largest city of Portugal. He is 43 years old and was first elected to public office in 2005 as a City Councilmen and City Assemblymen of Braga Municipality. He was also the President of Social Democratic Party of Braga and a member of Social Democratic Party’s National Political Committee.
He is a leading politician in Portugal and is currently the President of Galicia-North of Portugal Euroregion, and the President of the Intermunicipality Community of Cavado.
Prior to being elected Mayor, he had a career in the private sector and was the General Secretary of the Portuguese Association of Financial Analysts and the Director at Euronext Lisbon, a Capital Market Institute. He also worked as a consultant in business and governance with several leading Portuguese companies and public institutions.
As the Portuguese public health care system does not cover dental health care, low-income families face a big problem. To tackle this issue, the Municipality of Braga developed a programme to help vulnerable populations have access to dental care, in partnership with an NGO.
This programme has three axes of intervention: prevention and promotion of dental health care services for 5 000 children in elementary school; free dental health care to low-income families; and promotion of dental care for the elderly. The Dental Health Care Centre was established to support this programme, where about 6 000 consultations took place annually in the last three years. The users of the programme are mainly children, pregnant teenagers, the unemployed, and the elderly registered at social institutions.