Cristina Azevedo (Fiocruz News Agency)
Fiocruz signed, this Monday (6/5), a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that extends international cooperation with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Signed by the Vice President of Education, Information and Communication (VPEIC), Cristiani Machado, and by the Executive Secretary of ECLAC, José Manuel Salazar- Xirinachs, the document extends the partnership for another five years, with three central axes: monitoring the 2030 Agenda and its interface between health and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); strategic prospecting; and support for local production to increase the region's capacity to respond to health emergencies.
Vice President of Education, Information and Communication (Vpeic/Fiocruz), Cristiani Machado, and ECLAC Executive Secretary, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs (photo: Peter Ilicciev)
With the signing, a period of six months was established for the development of a work plan that unfolds these three axes in concrete actions involving not only the Fiocruz Strategy for the 2030 Agenda (EFA 2030) and the Center for Strategic Studies (CEE), involved since the first signing in 2018, but also the other units of the Foundation. The idea is that Fiocruz's experience can be shared with other countries, improving the quality of health and strengthening the production capacity of drugs, tests and vaccines, aiming at the autonomy of the region.
“The health issue is of fundamental importance for the development of Latin America, for the social policy. It is also a sector that drives development, economic growth, the workforce, while connecting with many other topics”, stated the Executive Secretary of ECLAC. “Fiocruz's experience is impressive. It is unique in Latin America for its nature and scale. So, we believe that there are many lessons that we can learn and collaborate with for countries in the region to learn about this experience and reproduce good practices. I also see the possibility of collaboration and vaccine export to other countries”, he pointed out.
Cristiani Machado, who represented President Mario Moreira at the signing of the document, highlighted ECLAC's role in formulating proposals aimed at more sustainable and inclusive development. She highlighted the importance of the partnership for the joint development of studies and analysis on health as a fundamental component of social well-being, as well as development – a concept adopted by both Fiocruz and the Ministry of Health.
“ECLAC has been encouraging greater autonomy in the field of scientific and technological development in health, understanding it as essential. In this post-pandemic scenario, the importance of investing in science and technology to have greater autonomy in the development of strategic health inputs, such as vaccines, drugs and diagnostic tests, became very evident. This is Fiocruz's bet to contribute to the strengthening of the national public production of these inputs”, noted the Vice President of Education, Information and Communication.
Moreover, the partnership includes the development of a strategic prospect for the health system and for national development, with health as a key component of national development aimed at inclusion and social well-being.
Cristiani Machado represented President Mario Moreira at the signing of the document (photo: Peter Ilicciev)
This is Salazar's first trip to Brazil as Executive Secretary. He arrived at the Foundation accompanied by the ECLAC representative in Brazil, Carlos Henrique Fialho Mussi, who signed the document as a witness; by his chief of staff, Silvia Hernandez; by the Director of Productive Development, Marco Liñas; by the Director of Economic Development, Daniel Titelman; and by Robson Silva, who joined ECLAC's office in Brasília.
“The arrival of the executive secretary shows the great importance given to Fiocruz”, explained Paulo Gadelha, EFA 2030 coordinator. In addition to Gadelha, the Advisor to the Presidency for Interinstitutional Relations, Valber Frutuoso; the Deputy Coordinator of the Center for International Relations in Health (Cris), Pedro Burger; and the Executive Secretary of the Center for Strategic Studies (CEE), Marco Nascimento attended the meeting.
For over an hour, the Executive Secretary of ECLAC showed interest in information on the production of vaccines and drugs at the Industrial Complex for Biotechnology in Health, which is under construction in Santa Cruz and which will increase the production of immunizers. He was also interested in initiatives in the field of education and training of professionals not only in Brazil, but with courses that will reach other countries, in addition to the Foundation's activities in the country and in scientific production and knowledge generation.
He also sought to know more about partnership mechanisms with private institutions and phytochemical research. Salazar was surprised by the fact that Fiocruz has 1,800 Doctors on its staff and that it covers, together with the Butantan Institute, 80% of the vaccines in the country's official calendar.
The document extends the partnership for another five years (photo: Peter Ilicciev)
The Memorandum of Understanding was originally signed on April 19, 2018, already focused on compliance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It was signed by the then president of Fiocruz, Nísia Trindade Lima, and by the Executive Secretary of ECLAC at the time, Alicia Bárcena, in Santiago, Chile, during the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development.
The document provided for collaboration between the institutions in initiatives that articulated socioeconomic development and health, such as research and prospecting projects, academic exchange of researchers and students, information and technical documentation on the relationship between development and health, joint organization of seminars and common publication of articles and scientific works.
The instrument also established the creation of platforms and other devices to produce and disseminate knowledge about the relationship between development and health, the creation of social technologies to improve the quality of life and cooperation for the development of sustainable territories, among others. However, because of the pandemic, many projects were compromised. The idea now is to resume them and to have a concrete work plan before the end of the year.