Ana Paula Blower and Camila De' Carli (Fiocruz News Agency)
The director of the National Institute of Health (INS, the acronym in Portuguese) of Mozambique, Eduardo Samo Gudo, was at Fiocruz on the 23rd and 24th of August to learn more about the Foundation's practices and management experience and to deepen cooperation between institutions, especially in the areas of management, research and teaching. Gudo, who holds a doctorate from the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/Fiocruz), participated in meetings with representatives of the Foundation's units and vice-presidencies in search of information and possibilities for cooperation to assist in the growth process of the INS.
Gudo participated in meetings with representatives of the Foundation's units and vice-presidencies (photo: Pedro Linger)
After the meetings, new areas with potential for cooperation were mapped, such as innovation, surveillance and communication in health. Thus, new remote meetings will be scheduled to list priorities and lines of action. From the perspective of resuming the bilateral partnership, it is also intended that a group from the INS will visit Fiocruz, as well as the Mozambican Minister of Health, to expand dialogue in areas of interest. There are also prospects of formalizing a general cooperation agreement between the two institutions.
Gudo, who has been in the position for six months, participated in meetings at the Fiocruz Global Health Center (CRIS/Fiocruz) and at the General Coordination of Campi Infrastructure (Cogic/Fiocruz). "We have had a collaborative relationship with Fiocruz in the technical-scientific area for about 15 years. With the new challenges of global health, the growth of the INS and the Mozambican health system, it became important to come and discuss some areas that we need to incorporate in this collaboration”, said Gudo, who was accompanied by the director of the Itaboraí Forum: Politics, Science and Culture in Health (Fiocruz-Petrópolis), Felix Rosemberg.
The INS director highlighted challenges in institutional management in the face of the institute's expansion: in the last decade, the number of employees at the institute rose from 100 to a thousand. Therefore, during his visit, he sought to learn about Fiocruz's experience and ways to expand cooperation in this area. Gudo explained that, initially, the cooperation with the Foundation focused on strategic areas for the growth of the INS, such as virology, bacteriology and epidemiology, but that the new challenges require another type of expertise. "We came to collect subsidies and define a plan so that we can materialize this effort to, in addition to maintaining cooperation, expand to strategic components and perspectives for the future", he said.
On the first day of the visit, the Deputy Executive Director of Management and Institutional Development, Priscila Ferraz, presented an overview of Fiocruz's management dynamics, with its main structures. She highlighted the complexity of managing an institution with a strong national presence in a territory that harbors many inequalities. She also pointed out the challenges of her diverse activities, in sectors such as production, research, and heritage conservation, among others. "We have many Fiocruz in one, and we have a mission, within the scope of our Executive Board, above all, to try harmonizing all this", she said. Ferraz also highlighted the importance of the Science, Technology and Innovation system. According to her, "it is necessary to think about solutions and management governance models that do not hinder this system, but enhance it".
One of the points discussed at the meeting was the purchase planning process and the challenge brought by unforeseen circumstances that may arise in the development of research. To Gudo's interest in how Fiocruz deals with costs, Ferraz spoke about the federal legislation that governs such purchases and mentioned the importance of Fiotec in making acquiring resources for research more flexible.
Another topic of interest to Guido was digital transition, in an attempt to reduce the use of paper. Claudia Turco, CRIS' Management Advisor, explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitization of administrative processes, mostly carried out through the Electronic Information System. Ferraz added that there is a strategic initiative on the part of Fiocruz's Presidency to advance Fiocruz's digital transformation. "We still have a way to go, with units more advanced than others in the digital transformation strategy. We are moving forward and we can, in collaboration, exchange information on the subject".
In the afternoon, Gudo also met with representatives from Fiocruz's general coordination offices of People Management (Cogepe), Administration (Cogead) and Campi Infrastructure (Cogic). With Ana Beatriz Cuzzatti, Cogic's general coordinator, Guido discussed the possibility of replicating Fiocruz's good practices in the area of maintenance of some equipment at the INS, thus reducing the costs of hiring external services.
Research and teaching
On the second day of visits, Gudo met with the vice-president of Research and Biological Collections (VPPCB/Fiocruz), Maria de Lourdes Aguiar Oliveira, who presented the area's lines of action, highlighting challenges and the importance of cooperation: “It is a challenge for research and for health systems to deal with all chronic degenerative diseases, infectious diseases... And the answer cannot be found in just one country. Either we articulate ourselves for a global response or we will have serious difficulties and leave a terrible legacy for the next generations. In this context, any cooperation we can establish is essential.” she said, who valued the exchange of expertise with Mozambique.
Also in the morning, Gudo met with the general education coordinator of the Vice-presidency of Education, Information and Communication (VPEIC/Fiocruz), Cristina Guilam, who expressed the vice-president's commitment to structuring cooperation, to looking at Mozambique's needs in pursuit of the country's autonomy. She highlighted the possibility of offering courses to Mozambican students - stricto sensu, refresher and hybrid courses - and of receiving them as well.
During the conversation, she recalled the Graduate Program in Health Sciences, the result of the cooperation between Fiocruz and the INS which, by the end of 2022, had graduated 61 masters. The program focuses on health professionals from Mozambique, mainly from the INS, aimed at strengthening the scientific research in health in the country.
In the Mozambican health system, the INS performs some functions similar to those of Fiocruz in Brazil, supporting public policies through research, technological development, reference services, human resources training, among other activities.