The Brazilian manner of COVID-19

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Eduardo de Campos Pavan and Mr. Victor Augusto Santos Perli, two medical students at UniCesumar, Maringá, Brazil. They are affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Vaccination campaign against covid-19 started in Brazil in January 18, 2021, with the authorization by the Sanitary Vigilance National Agency (ANVISA) of the emergency use of CoronaVac and the Oxford-Astrazeneca’s vaccine. The SIVEP-Gripe, an epidemiological surveillance system, provided data that helped establish the vaccine priority group: people over 60 years old, identified as having a double risk for hospitalization and death by COVID-19. These risks have also been shown to be directly proportional with increasing age1. Measures to deal with COVID-19 have been studied and improved worldwide each day, but are the technical knowledge and efforts enough to deal with a public health crisis? Brazil is an example to answer this question: until the day of the writing of this text, the country has reached 389,492 deaths and daily more and more people are dying2. This chaotic situation results from irresponsibility from both the government and the population.

In Brazil, despite the efforts of health professionals and institutions, the government’s neglect of the pandemic prevented an adequate combat of the disease. A pandemic provides not only a crisis in the public health system, but also severe impacts in the country’s economy, affecting especially vulnerable populations, and it’s the role of the government to plan strategies to deal simultaneously with the disease spread and economic burden the best way it’s possible. COVID-19 reached Brazil in March 2020, there was some concern in the first months following the installation of the epidemics, but soon after, governmental measures were left away and life was resumed as if the situation has been controlled. Furthermore, there are the neglecting placements of the president and other political figures, which influence other people in disdaining the pandemic following ideological issues. Not to mention the Ministry of Health’s “recommendation” for the use of medications without evidence of efficacy against the disease3.

This process reflects in people’s behavior. The uncontrolled spread of the disease scares especially the groups of risk (e.g over 60 years, homeless, prisoners, indigenous), but huge part of the non risk ones eventually are living like COVID-19 does not exist. The word “eventually” is important because these people usually take the necessary cares such as the use of masks and gel alcohol, but otherwise are frequently taking part in big social gatherings and parties, which are normally happening as before the pandemic. Beyond these people who are “only” irresponsible, there are also those who, following the aforementioned placements of the government, disdain the pandemic and disrespect any efforts to deal with the spread of the virus, even denying the wearing of masks in public places.

It’s clear that dealing with a sanitary crisis requires not only technical knowledge and efforts, but also education of the population and adequate measures promoted by the political authorities. Public health, society and politics are inseparable, and efforts surrounding all of them must be done in order to promote adequate health conditions for the entire population.

References

  1.  Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Plano Nacional de Operacionalização da Vacinação Contra a COVID-19 [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2021 Apr 21]. Available from https://www.gov.br/saude/pt-br/media/pdf/2021/janeiro/29/PlanoVacinaoCovid_ed4_15fev21_cgpni_18h05.pdf.

About the author

Eduardo de Campos Pavan, 22 years old, is a fourth year medical student at UniCesumar, Maringá, Brazil. He is a member of the Sports Medicine and Nutrology Academic League of Maringá (LAMEENM).

Victor Augusto Santos Perli, 23 years old, is a third year medical student at UniCesumar, Maringá, Brazil. Currently Local Publication and Research Director (LPR-D) of IMFSA Brazil Unicesumar, and secretary at the Neuroscience Academic League of Unicesumar (LANU). Especially interested in research and public health.

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