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Newton Fund supports Fiocruz projects on zika researches


Ricardo Valverde (CCS)


Nísia Trindade Lima, president of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, participated in a meeting held at the British Council Brazil, in March 7, in Brasília, for the official presentation of the four Fiocruz projects approved by the Public Notice Institutional Links Zika Virus. During the meeting, Nísia presented the Social Sciences and Humanities Network, facing the zika epidemic in Brazil, focused on the social repercussions of the relations between the virus and the disease effects in families and in the health system. Nísia said that the epidemic arises in a complex social, political, cultural and economic network that ultimately expresses a hybrid of socio-biological demands that needs to be addressed by an interdisciplinary approach and intersectoral policies.

The Newton Fund will support interdisciplinary research and human resources qualification projects for the development of researches related to zika virus and its impact in the society. The purpose is for these studies to result in training courses, methodologies, protocols and applied social research. Foundations that support research in some states, the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and Fiocruz participated in the initiative. The projects approved by the Newton Fund will be part of the Social Sciences and Humanities Network, Zika Virus.

“The scientific field must not only respond to the epidemiological threat, but also seek to collectively create responses integrated to social perception and participation. Our social sciences network seeks to contribute to understanding these matters by producing knowledge under an interdisciplinary perspective, and proposing concrete actions in the face of the epidemics and its consequences,” said Lima. Until now, the project partners are University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the universities of Oxford and York, the King’s College and the Inserm. All projects will give answers to the Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS) demands.

The four Fiocruz projects that will be financed in partnership with the Newton Fund are: Supporting health professionals to provide care to families of children with congenital syndromes related to Zika virus in Brazil, by Luciana Sepúlveda Koptcke; Acting in an uncertain world: mapping public health responses to the Zika epidemic in Brazil, by Gustavo Correa Matta; Women’s social movements and the response to Zika and microcephaly in Brazil: addressing neglect through community-centred approaches, by Denise Nacif Pimenta; and Modelling and Mapping statistical probabilities; correlation between Zika virus transmission, sanitary and drainage conditions in Metropolitan Area of Fortaleza/Ceará (Brazil), by Debora Cynamon Kligerman.

The network has the purpose of defining an integrated research and education agenda to contribute to social and human sciences in order to face the health crisis, its implications in the medium and long-term; constituting a historical, bibliographical and multimedia database on the epidemics in Brazil; providing subsidies for the creation of public policies that respond to the diversity and social inequalities produced in the national territory; and producing educational and research strategies articulated with social movements, scientific community and policy makers focused on the Unified Health System. According to Lima, the goal is to generate synergies between epidemiological, clinical and bench studies, and those focused on the social and human dimensions of the triple epidemic.

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