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Covid-19: Fiocruz shares experiences on The Global Health Network


Flavia Bueno


With the aim of presenting innovative initiatives to respond to the pandemic, researchers from the Foundation participated, on March 31, in a virtual workshop with Portuguese-speaking countries, organized by the Research Capacity Network (REDe) and the sharing knowledge base incorporated into the online platform The Global Health Network, from the University of Oxford. The platform aims to provide research resources, courses and other tools that can support scientists to carry out their investigations in places where these resources are scarce.

Alongside Jocelyne de Vasconcellos, from the National Institute of Health Research in Angola, and Wildo Araújo, professor at the University of Brasília (UnB), researchers Maurício Barreto, general coordinator of the “Center for Data and Knowledge Integration for Health (Cidacs/Fiocruz Bahia), and Gustavo Matta, coordinator of the Social Impacts axis at the Fiocruz Covid-19 Observatory, exchanged experiences on how they are facing in Brazil the challenge imposed by Covid-19 for science.

Gustavo Matta, who is also a researcher at the National School of Public Health (Ensp/Fiocruz), presented the main actions Fiocruz has been undertaking since before the arrival of the new coronavirus in Brazil. Some of the highlights are the production of diagnostic kits, the training of national and international laboratories for this diagnosis and the beginning of the construction of a 200-bed hospital center for critically ill patients, which will participate in the Solidarity clinical trial of the World Health Organization (WHO) to verify the effectiveness of treatment regimens for the disease.

In addition, Gustavo presented the Fiocruz Covid-19 Observatory. Under the coordination of researcher Carlos Machado, the Observatory aims to produce technical and scientific information to support Fiocruz policy formulation and decision-making, as well as to support strategic action of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the National Health System (SUS). The Observatory acts in different research realms to produce a comprehensive overview of the pandemic, such as Epidemiological Scenarios; Diagnosis and Treatment; Control and Organization Measures for Health Services and Systems; Quality of Care, Patient Safety and Worker Health; Social Impacts of Pandemic.

Another action presented was the development, in record time, of the CoVida - Science, Information and Solidarity Network, an online monitoring platform for Covid-19. The venture is a collaboration between Cidacs/Fiocruz Bahia and the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), gathering around 150 researchers.

The production and implementation of mathematical models was the subject of Professor Wildo Araújo's presentation. The team includes researchers from several institutions and universities, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and members of the Brazilian Ministry of Health's Surveillance Secretariat. The objective is to study and apply models to subsidize decision making by Brazilian authorities.

Jocelyne Vasconcellos highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of the Angolan response, reinforcing health surveillance and communication measures. The researcher spoke about gaps to be filled in the research field and pointed to the limited access researchers have to health facilities, the lack of adequate spaces for research and the lack of health products and reagents. Vasconcellos also highlighted demands for cooperation on topics such as the formation of research groups, protocols and training to support researchers in the effort.

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