Established through the cooperation between Fiocruz and the National Institute of Health of Mozambique (INS), in Africa, the Post-Graduate Program in Health Sciences completed, at the end of 2022, its fifth academic master's class, with the graduation of 11 more masters. Created in 2008, the course has reached the milestone of 61 master's graduates. The program focuses on health professionals from Mozambique, mainly from the INS, aimed at strengthening the scientific research in health in the country.
Event in Mozambique, with the virtual participation of researchers from Fiocruz, celebrated the awarding of the fifth class of the international master's degree in Health Sciences (photo: Collection)
The course is offered through a consortium, with the participation of three postgraduate programs from the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/Fiocruz) and one program from the Evandro Chagas National Institute of Infectious Diseases (INI/Fiocruz). They are: Tropical Medicine, Parasite Biology and Cellular and Molecular Biology, from the IOC, and Clinical Research in Infectious Diseases, from the INI.
Challenges during the pandemic
The graduation of the new masters was celebrated on December 20th in a hybrid ceremony. The event was held at the INS' headquarters, in Maputo, and was virtually attended by the researchers from Fiocruz.
The ceremony was attended by the two coordinators of the international program: Renato Porrozzi, researcher at the Laboratory for Toxoplasmosis and Other Protozoan Diseases of the IOC, and Nilsa de Deus, researcher at the INS.
Members of the Post-Graduate Committee (CPG) of the course, Wilson Savino, coordinator of Regional and National Integration Strategies at Fiocruz; André Roque, coordinator of the Post-Graduate Program in Parasite Biology; and Vanessa de Paula, coordinator of the Post-Graduate Program in Tropical Medicine, also represented the Foundation at the event.
The advisors of the students in the class, Fernando Genta, head of the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Physiology of Insects of the IOC; Mariza Morgado, researcher of the Laboratory of AIDS and Molecular Immunology of the IOC; and Raquel Vasconcellos, head of the Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology of the INI, attended the ceremony.
Students developed research on diseases with a high impact on health in Mozambique (photo: Collection)
Professors and students highlighted the challenges they had overcome to complete the course in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As they were health professionals, many students had to act in the fight against the disease. Moreover, the post-graduation dynamics had to be modified, with the research activities carried out entirely in Mozambique.
“Students were not able to come to Fiocruz, where they normally spend three months conducting analysis for their research. We had to extend the deadlines and, fortunately, everyone was able to complete the course”, said Renato.
As in previous years, the research developed by the master's students addressed issues relevant to the local public health, including HIV infection, tuberculosis, intestinal parasitosis, oral health, among others.
In the health system of Mozambique, 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. The graduation of masters and doctors in the institution contributes to the strengthening of health in the country.
“The director of the INS [Ilesh Jani] has already pointed out, on several occasions, that Fiocruz’s contribution in this course is fundamental in structuring the institute. Our alumni are the heads of departments and leaders of research groups. INS has other collaborations around the world, but there is no other course that has graduated more people than the Post-Graduate Program in Health Sciences”, Renato pointed out.
The Brazilian coordinator of the initiative adds that, in the next few years, the international program should approach its long-term purpose: Establishing a post-graduate program at the INS.
According to Renato, the initial plan for the international course was to graduate five classes, with 50 masters, so that INS could start its post-graduate course. With the completion of the fifth class, the number of graduated professionals has exceeded expectations.
To ensure continuity in the training of professionals in the transition period for the local course, researchers are discussing the possibility of opening another international master's class this year.
Regarding the doctorate, started in 2014, the opening of a new class is also under discussion. It was expected to start in 2020, but had to be suspended due to the pandemic.
“The goal is for the INS to have the autonomy to train new masters and, in the future, doctors, who will be able to contribute to the public health and scientific research in the region”, said Renato.