In a recent qualification course on the diagnosis of tegumentary leishmaniasis and patient care, health workers from Belize, a country in the East coast of Central America, were trained in Porto Velho. Attendants were able to follow, in practical terms, all phases of the care provided to previously scheduled patients, from reception and medical consultation at the dermatology clinic of the Rondônia Center for Tropical Medicine (Cemetron) by the infectology physician, to referral to the sample collection room (from the patients’ lesions), and including the laboratory work and the parasitological diagnosis, followed by the indication of the most suitable treatment by the medical staff. The training in diagnostic of tegumentary leishmaniasis and patient care is the result of a collaboration between Cemetron and Fiocruz Rondônia.
Considered an endemic area for leishmaniasis, the Brazilian state of Rondônia has an average of one thousand cases of the disease per year, according to data from the Notification Diseases Information System (Sinan/Ministry of Health). According to the Laboratory of Genetic Epidemiology of Fiocruz Rondônia, in 2021 alone, about 200 suspected cases were analyzed, with patients served at the Rondônia Center for Tropical Medicine (Cemetron Hospital), in the capital, Porto Velho. Of these, about 100 had a positive result for the presence of Leishmania DNA (the parasite that causes the disease).
More recent data made available by Cemetron, a reference center in leishmaniasis patient care, show that between August 2021 and August 2022 there were 262 notifications of suspected patients, of which 96 samples were considered positive for leishmaniasis. This situation highlights the need for more attention by government managers to apply measures against the emergence of new cases and to raise awareness, among the population, regarding the diagnosis and the importance of specialized care.
As this is a region with a high concentration of cases and there is special care available for patients, relying on the expertise of skilled professionals beyond the work of researchers dedicated to understanding the disease in the region, with research lines focusing on the subject and high-performance laboratories, Fiocruz Rondônia has become a focus point to provide training to professionals from different regions. This partnership has been consolidated with the Leishmaniasis Research Laboratory (LPL) of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/Fiocruz), with headquarters in the city of Rio de Janeiro, a reference for the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).