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Fiocruz takes part in WHO meeting to fight the pandemic


Julia Dias


Fiocruz president, Nísia Trindade Lima, attended last Wednesday (April 1st) a meeting of global health leaders requested by the director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom. The goal of the meeting was to discuss the advancement of control measures in different countries, share lessons learned, and, mainly, debate future challenges involving the Covid-19 pandemic.

The role of WHO in a post-quarantine transition was one of the main themes under debate. Isolation measures currently affect more than one third of the world’s population. The group of about 30 leaders of different government institutions, international agencies and the academia discussed the need for a guide with the measures that should be taken for a smooth and safe transition when the quarantine is lifted. This guide should include risk assessment on a state, national and regional basis, with criteria, combined strategies and indicators defined according to the different realities of these countries. WHO must elaborate an initial document with the proposal of a global strategy that can be suitable for local realities. The document will be analyzed by the group, which is to meet on a weekly basis.

The only Brazilian participant, Fiocruz president highlighted that the country’s biggest challenge is the combination of social inequality and high demographic concentration in poorer areas, a situation that is also seen in other Latin-American countries. “We need to look to the most vulnerable populations, those who do not find it possible to adopt effective social isolation, and to think of measures together with these populations, and not only for them”, said Lima.

“My main message during the meeting was about the way developing countries will be facing this pandemic. For these countries, experience and data sharing and solidarity are crucial to win this challenge”, said the Fiocruz president.

“We have a history of collaboration with WHO, and right now we are leading the Solidarity study in Brazil”, she reminded, mentioning the global cooperation initiative coordinated by the World Health Organization to identify safe, effective treatments against the Covid-19. 

Fiocruz has been playing a crucial role in the response to the pandemic in Brazil. In addition to Solidarity, the Foundation has been working to increase diagnostic and reasearch capacity, and is committed to the building of a hospital for specialized care of severe patients, among other actions.

The meeting was coordinated by the executive director of WHO’s Health Emergency program, Mike Ryan, and was attended by WHO ambassadors in the fight against the Covid-19 virus. Among the represented institutions were the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of the USA and of Nigeria, the Department of Health and Social Care of the United Kingdom, Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, the Department of Epidemiology of the Lazio Region, in Italy, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases of South Africa, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the Imperial College of London, Middle East and North Africa Health Policy Forum (MENA HPF) and others. 

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