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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790XOn-line version ISSN 1980-5497

Rev. bras. epidemiol. vol.8 no.3 São Paulo Sept. 2005

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-790X2005000300003 

EDITORIAL

 

IV Master Plan for the Development of Epidemiology in Brazil

 

 

The fourth version of the Master Plan for the Development of Epidemiology in Brazil was written in the first half of 2005, and will be published as a special issue of Revista. To that end, Abrasco's Epidemiology Committee asked some members of the scientific community to prepare documents to guide the discussion on the three focal points of the plan — teaching, research and policies, health programs and services. Afterwards, it promoted a Seminar in Rio de Janeiro with the participation of renowned researchers, managers and professionals of the SUS.

The three days of intense work were acknowledged by all as an unprecedented moment for our Community, with in-depth reflections on the advances, identification of problems, and design of strategies to overcome these problems, in order to further develop Brazilian epidemiology.

Among the assumptions that oriented the definitions of strategies for advancing the teaching of Epidemiology in Brazil, the following stands out: the importance of access to knowledge at a pace compatible with the speed in which it is renewed and transformed; and the modernization of teaching resources by incorporating new technologies. Other propositions were the promotion of greater integration between post-graduation programs, support to the accomplishment of multilateral international cooperation programs with neighboring and African countries, and incentives for the community to fight for the definition of plans, positions and wages for teachers and researchers.

The Seminar emphasized the need for epidemiological research to pursue more space in Brazilian S&T policies. The recent creation of the Science and Technology and Strategic Input Department of the Ministry of Health became a favorable historical fact to such proposition. This initiative may translate into the allocation of more stable and more adequate resources for epidemiological research, with the definition of specific call notices aimed at meeting relevant demands related to health problems of the Brazilian population. The seminar was characterized by fostering community participation in the implementation of the National Policy for Science, Technology and Innovation in Health and by the agenda of research priorities, recently approved by the 2nd National Conference of Science, Technology and Innovation in Health. The importance of implementing strategies for integrating new researchers into existing research groups and of reducing the gap in scientific production in some Brazilian regions was also pointed out. Ways of enhancing the visibility of the domestic production of Epidemiology, especially the emphasis on stimulating the production of beginners was also object of discussion and propositions.

During the period in which the III Master Plan (2000-2004) was in effect, epidemiology clearly advanced and gained strength in health services such as institutionalization and structuring of the Health Surveillance Department of the Ministry of Health (SVS), establishment of a network for recruiting human resources for the area, mechanisms for improving large epidemiological information systems, strengthening of the diagnostic support network for the public health area. Particularly noteworthy was the establishment of the fund-to-fund transfer, based on epidemiological and geographical criteria, of SUS funds aimed at Health Surveillance actions to bring forth greater stability to the funding of Public Health actions developed by municipalities.

However, many problems have remained unchanged or have even become worse in this period. One example is the absence of a positions and wages policy for professionals, which prevents their permanence, particularly in more deprived areas, with subsequent discontinuity of actions in local health systems. Another example is SUS' insufficient resources for Public Health. As to facing unprecedented health situations, the community acknowledges that the SVS is adopting initiatives for structuring this component of surveillance. Yet, it has not profited from the expressive technical and scientific capacity in the field of Epidemiology in the country.

Abrasco, through its Epidemiology Committee, has the immense satisfaction of putting this IV Plan at the disposal of our community and SUS managers, and would like to thank all of those who contributed to its preparation. Abrasco is also convinced that, as in previous opportunities, epidemiologists will involve themselves in attaining its propositions so that the next five years may be a period of great advances in Brazilian epidemiology.

Maria da Glória Teixeira

 

Coordinator of Abrasco's Epidemiology Committee

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