Cristiane Boar (VPPCB)
The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, by means of the Fio-Schisto, the Translational Research Program in Schistosomiasis, informs that researcher Otávio Pieri, of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC), was invited to become part of the World Health Organization (WHO) group on schistosomiasis and helminth diseases transmitted through the soil (geo helminth diseases). Fio-Schisto is bound to the Vice-Presidency of Biological Research and Collections.
The invitation highlights that schistosomiasis and helminth diseases transmitted through the soil are a significant public health issue at a global level, which affects populations without access to suitable water and sanitation.
Fiocruz is now part of a WHO counseling group that recommends combined strategies to eliminate these diseases as a public health issue, based on the periodical treatment of risk groups and community interventions with an emphasis on access to water, environmental sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). The goals established by the WHO to eliminate these diseases as a public health issue by 2030 were approved by countries in which these diseases are endemic, including Brazil. This involves fulfilling measurable goals to obtain the validation of the elimination.
For researcher Otávio Pieri, the WHO acknowledges that “global programs are in the midst of a critical moment, and there is need for technical counseling in order to develop action plans that meet the specificities of each country. The advisory group consists of specialists from different parts of the world and different areas of knowledge”.
The function of the group is to review WHO recommendations according to the scientific evidence available, to identify gaps in these sets of evidence, and to suggest research priority to consolidate current and develop new recommendations.
To fulfill the commitment Brazil has made, the Ministry of Health has begun drawing up a national plan for the elimination of these diseases, using WHO recommendations as a starting point but not limiting itself to it. For these purposes, it relies on the participation of specialists from various Brazilian institutions, including Fiocruz, and Fio-Shisto researchers in particular.