Gustavo Mendelsohn de Carvalho (CCS)
The Management Report, published on June 2, offers a thorough picture of the efforts undertaken by Fiocuz to offer quick responses to the Brazilian population in the fight against COVID-19. From the generation of knowledge and the diffusion of technical information for the population and managers to the unprecedented technology transfer that made it possible to manufacture vaccines that are 100% Brazilian, therefore ensuring the immunization of millions of Brazilians, the Foundation also built, in record time, the second largest ICU dedicated to COVID-19 in Brazil and delivered to the Ministry of Health half the molecular tests necessary to supply the surveillance network.
The report contains detailed data and analyses the impacts generated by a large number of initiatives in different Brazilian states. These initiatives were crucial in the pandemic response, between March 2020 and March 2022. The document is structured in large areas of activity: Immunization; Surveillance; Assistance; Research and Innovation; Information, Communication and Science Communication; Education; Support to Vulnerable Populations; and Institutional Management. The report also includes a timeline containing the main milestones represented by Fiocruz's actions in the COVID-19 response over the past two years, placing them in relation to significant events in Brazil and in the world during that period.
The text attempts to reflect the work logic present in the institution’s initiatives, with its areas of activity organized in a systemic and transversal fashion, oriented towards the big national and global challenges, such as strengthening the SUS, CT&I and the national productive and technological foundations, in an attempt to achieve global insertion based on solidarity. The statement is also the acknowledgment of the work and effort put in by all units, both the technical-scientific and the management ones, and by all Fiocruz employees, tirelessly committed to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and to maintaining essential activities, reducing its worst effects and saving lives, a reflection of Fiocruz’s commitment towards the Brazilian society.
Some data on the Report regarding the impact of Fiocruz's actions in the fight against COVID-19:
• Fiocruz’s scientific production has contributed significantly to the demand for new knowledge in the midst of the public health crisis. In 2020 there were 3,112 indexed publications, a jump of more than 25% when compared with 2019 (2,470). The Inova Program distributed more than 38 million reais and financed 142 projects, considering the two public tenders, of quick response and knowledge generation.
• Fiocruz was responsible for about 30% of the COVID-19 vaccine doses received by the Ministry of Health up to May 2022 (620 million). It is Brazil’s main supplier of vaccines. More than 67 million Brazilians have been immunized with at least the 1st dose produced by Fiocruz. This coverage also reveals the potential economic impact generated for the SUS. The price per unit of the vaccines produced by Fiocruz is USD 6, while the price charged by institutions and laboratories ranges from USD 11 to USD 16. The Ministry of Health, therefore, saved about BRL 5 billion in 2021.
• Taking into account all types of tests produced (Rapid Test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigens, or TR-Ag; RT-PCR molecular tests; and IgM and IgG COVID-19 tests), Fiocruz has delivered to the Ministry of Health a total of 93.7 million tests. The RT-PCR molecular tests processed at the UNADIGs have also resulted in savings. The average price currently requested by private laboratories is BRL 323, while the average price per unit of the RT-PCR test by Fiocruz’s UNADIGs is eight times lower (BRL 40.87). The UNADIGs also provide the results in almost 50% less time than the private laboratories.
• During these more than two years, the National Institute for Quality Control in Health (INCQS/Fiocruz), the only federal laboratory that is part of the National Sanitary Surveillance System (SNVS), analyzed the products used in the pandemic response, such as vaccines, diagnostic kits, and hand sanitizers (products containing 70% alcohol gel). New analysis methodologies and new flows for document and laboratory analysis were developed to face new emergency situations.
• Fiocruz’s COVID-19 Hospital Center was the country’s second-largest ICU dedicated to COVID-19, receiving patients from the state of Rio de Janeiro as well as from the northern states of Rondônia and Amazonas during the peak of the crisis in the North Region. 3,820 lives were saved and 5,711 patients were hospitalized. The average hospitalization time was 16 days, with a survival rate of 66%. In that same period, 3,164 blood transfusions, 7,206 hemodialysis sessions and 974,021 laboratory tests were performed.
• Thanks to the extensive coverage and to the commitment of multi-professional teams in public health, primary healthcare was essential in COVID-19 prevention and recovery. In the Manguinhos territory, 11,196 consultations were made between July 2020 and March 2022 at the Germano Sinval Faria Teaching Health Center and at the Victor Valla Family Clinic. In addition to providing assistance to the population, different surveillance practices and health status follow-up tactics were implemented, such as territory monitoring via phone, with more than five thousand phone calls for contact tracing and active search of disease cases.
• In the two years of the pandemic, the Foundation has been present in the main communication channels of the entire country. In 2021 alone, 14,654 articles were published in printed media, 3,073 services were broadcast on TV, 3,294 on the radio, and 193,320 were reproduced in online news portals and agencies. The total impact generated in the press was 134% higher than in the previous year, and the generally positive view of Fiocruz achieved an impressive 93.5%. In social networks, an expressive increase in followers was observed. On Instagram, Fiocruz's followers doubled, jumping from 250,000 to 556,000. On Twitter, the number of followers grew by 50%, and the Foundation’s Facebook profile reached 1.4 million followers, with some posts reaching peaks of 40 million people, corresponding to the audience of the country’s most important TV news program.
• Between 2020 and 2021, Fiocruz trained 432,941 people in courses that focused on pandemic response, offered by the Fiocruz Virtual Campus or via UNA-SUS. These courses were crucial in the training of health professionals all over the country, which were designed to respond to the diversity found in the Brazilian population, respecting the particularities and vulnerabilities of the different groups, such as indigenous peoples, the elderly population, inmates, and pregnant women.