The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) will be sending a team of professionals to Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa to help organise the response to the new coronavirus pandemic. This cooperation answers to a request by the regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Africa, received by Fiocruz last Sunday (March 15).
According to Fiocruz director of the Fiocruz Global Health Center, Paulo Buss, Brazilian and Portuguese professionals will be partnering up to share information and innovation on the disease and to prepare local teams for the response in different levels, such as basic healthcare, health education, and aid to serious cases.
“Together with Portugal, we will be helping with the efforts of much poorer countries, in a much more serious institutional situation than ours, with epidemics that may result in very tragic outcomes”, said the public health physician, who states that English- and French-speaking communities are also being mobilised at an international level by WHO.
The team to be sent by Fiocruz will include an epidemiologist, a clinical professional, someone with training in management of health systems, and a laboratory professional. This team may also include a communication professional, to help organise a clear process of information sharing.
“Our idea is to send technicians as soon as they define their exact demand, with their needs clearly outlined. We will be sending professionals who can train lab professionals and epidemiologists in that specific African region”, explained Buss, defending that the best way to multiply this knowledge is to send professionals to the African continent. “A single team of ours can train a lot of professionals there, and if I remove five or six from there, they will be left with a deficit”.
The cooperation request should have been formally signed on March 9, when the general director of WHO in Africa, Matshidiso, Moeti, was expected to visit Fiocruz. Her trip was canceled due to the advancement of the disease in Africa. The country with the highest number of cases in the continent is Egypt, with 166 confirmed cases.
Among the members of the CPLP, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, namely Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and São Tomé e Príncipe have no confirmed cases of the disease. Equatorial Guinea has a single case, according to the map updated daily by WHO.