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Nísia Trindade Lima will be the first woman to head the Brazilian Ministry of Health


Ciro Oiticica (Fiocruz News Agency)


The first woman to be Fiocruz president, a position she has held since 2017, Nísia Trindade Lima is also the first woman to head the Brazilian Ministry of Health from January 2023. The announcement was made on December 22 by president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brasilia. The executive director of the Foundation, Mario Moreira, was named acting president of Fiocruz, remaining in this position until April 2nd. During this period, a new electoral process will be carried out for the Presidency.

The first woman to be president at Fiocruz, Nísia Trindade Lima will also be the first woman to head the Ministry of Health (photo: Disclosure)

"There's a lot to happen in each ministry. Each teammate has to assemble his team. It is important that this team serves the most competent people, people committed to our project and people who participated in this victory, which was not just the Brazilian Workers' Party (PT), but several political parties," declared Lula. "I hope everyone wins, but our priority is to take care of the poorest people, the working people, the neediest people".

"The priority is to use the full potential of the Brazilian National Health System (SUS, in Portuguese), with its own services, the area that involves philanthropic hospitals, which respond to 50% of SUS hospitalizations, and also the private sector for a great effort in the sense of putting criteria, indicating and signaling priority referrals for regulation, giving transparency to this process", said the future Minister of Health, Nísia Trindade Lima. "This is already an effort that we are working on and there are many elements in the transition to help us in this sense. We are also thinking of joint efforts in areas with empty assistance; this is the priority focus, as President Lula himself has been saying".

Alongside other researchers, specialists and former ministers, Nísia Trindade Lima was part of the Health Technical Group in the transitional government. Graduated in Social Sciences and with a Ph.D. in sociology, Nísia Trindade Lima has her intellectual work as a reference in the area of Brazilian social thought, history of science and public health. She has been a researcher at Fiocruz since 1987 and held the positions of director of Oswaldo Cruz House (1998-2005), a Foundation unit, and vice president of Education, Information and Communication at Fiocruz (2011-2016)

As president of the Foundation, Nísia led Fiocruz's actions to face the pandemic, such as the creation of a new Hospital Center on the Manguinhos campus; increasing the national capacity to produce diagnostic kits and process test results; promotion of initiatives with vulnerable populations; creation of the COVID-19 Observatory and the Fiocruz Genomic Surveillance Network; and inauguration of the COVID-19 Biobank (BC19-FIOCRUZ). During her management, Fiocruz became a reference institution for the WHO in the Americas for the diagnosis of COVID-19.

In the field of vaccines against COVID-19, Nísia coordinated Fiocruz's technology order agreement. With the conclusion of the technology transfer from AstraZeneca, Fiocruz became the first institution in Brazil to produce a vaccine against COVID-19 100% nationally. The Foundation has already provided the Brazilian Ministry of Health with more than 200 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19 and was selected by PAHO/WHO as a regional center for mRNA vaccines, which is still under development.

Her interdisciplinary work on international cooperation agreements has been a hallmark of her career at the Foundation. She coordinates the Zika Social Sciences Network, part of the Zika Alliance Network (2018); was a member of the WHO Global Action Plan working group (2018); the WHO advisory group for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda (2019); among others. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she also participated in several transnational cooperation forums and co-chaired the Economic Recovery Steering Group, one of the groups of the UN Research Roadmap for the Recovery of COVID-19.

In December 2020, she was elected a full member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC) in the Social Sciences category and, in September 2021, she became an independent member of the Council of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), having received several awards over the last few years in recognition of her work.

Alongside other researchers, specialists and former ministers, Nísia Trindade Lima was part of the Technical Health Group in the transitional government (photo: Elisa Andries)

Along with Nísia's announcement at the Ministry of Health, President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva also announced 15 other new ministers. They are: Alexandre Padilha, Institutional Relations; Márcio Macedo, General Secretariat; Jorge Messias, Attorney General of the Union; Camilo Santana, Ministry of Education; Esther Dweck, Ministry of Management; Márcio França, Ministry of Ports and Airports; Luciana Santos, Ministry of Science and Technology; Cida Gonçalves, Ministry of Women; Wellington Dias, Ministry of Social Development; Margareth Menezes, Ministry of Culture; Luiz Marinho, Ministry of Labor; Anielle Franco, Ministry of Racial Equality; Silvio Almeida, Ministry of Human Rights; Geraldo Alckmin, Ministry of Industry and Commerce; and Vinícius Carvalho, Comptroller General of the Union.

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