Brazilian Social Forum for Combating Infectious and Neglected Diseases is featured on MEDTROP Play

Publicação: 8 de December de 2021

Social Forum rescues historical struggles, reflects on the current political-institutional and socioeconomic crisis in the country and seeks a future with less inequities and more access to health

The discussions of the sixth edition of the Social Forum led to the preparation of the document, bringing together demands and demands from the participants

MEDTROP Play 2021 achieved remarkable success in terms of the activities carried out, including satellite events, as well as the number of participants between the 25th and 28th of October, with nearly 3.300 subscribers. This edition included the integration of the activities of the 6th Brazilian Meeting of Social Movements to Fight Infectious and Neglected Diseases, within the Brazilian Social Forum for Combating Infectious and Neglected Diseases. The transversality of the Forum’s theme with the Congress Central Theme in 2021: “Tropical diseases and neglected populations: the challenge of knowing, monitoring and caring” was highlighted by Professor Alberto Novaes Ramos Jr, from the Federal University of Ceará (UFC), which expanded collective and common responsibility from this Forum.

In two days of activities on a virtual platform, the space hosted diverse and active representations. There were 2.250 hits on YouTube (https://youtu.be/B7Tzu_QkAMY and https://youtu.be/eoQgbpUy0XI) and registered people representing Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal and Paraguay, with an expanded scope of representations, the event brought strong collective construction, with the central theme: “The Brazil of yesterday, today and tomorrow for neglected populations: confronting inequalities and the social abyss”. All activities were broadcast on Youtube from MEDTROP Play 2021 and had the participation of organizations, social movements, leaders, health professionals, students and researchers who deal with the themes of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), such as leprosy, Chagas disease, viral hepatitis, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, filariasis and tuberculosis.

According to José Alexandre Menezes da Silva, national director of the Netherlands Hanseniasis Relief NHR Brasil, more than 250 pre-registrations and more than 2.550 views were registered through the YouTube channel throughout MEDTROP Play 2021. “NHR Brasil is one of the organizations leading the Forum, which has been held since 2016 and also has the articulation of the Medicines for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), Allied Universities for Essential Medicines (UAEM), Doctors without Borders (MSF), Movement for the Reintegration of People Affected by Leprosy (Morhan), Federal University of Ceará and Federal University of Bahia (UFBA)”, he adds.

The schedule for Sunday, October 24 opened space throughout the day for discussions on the urgency for technological innovation to face NTDs, considering the world and Brazilian contexts. The general conduction and synthesis were mediated by professors Maria do Socorro de Sousa (UFC) and Eliana Amorim de Souza (UFBA). At first, in addition to the presentation and welcome by Alexandre Menezes and a quick review of the paths of the Social Forum up to 2021, presented by Marina Certo, from DNDi, there was a presentation by Cordel by Anne Caroline: “atenção poetizada às doenças negligenciadas [poeticized attention to neglected diseases]” . Then, Dr. Maria Cristina Soares Guimarães, from the Institute of Scientific and Technological Communication and Information in Health (Icict/Fiocruz), under the mediation of Dr. Eloan dos Santos Pinheiro, discussed the ways to achieve the production of scientific knowledge for technological innovation in fighting NTDs, in addition to the international dependence versus local production of pharmaceutical ingredients for the treatment of this group of diseases, with the participation of Dr. Luiz Antônio Marinho, from the Association of Official Pharmaceutical Laboratories of Brazil (ALFOB). In the second part of the meeting, under the coordination of Professor Alberto Novaes, after the interpretation of Geraldo Vandré’s “Not to Say I Didn’t Talk about Flowers” [Pra não Dizer que não Falei das Flores], the contexts for expanding and overcoming the neglect of people, populations and territories in Brazil were discussed, opening the discussion on social policies in contexts of austerity and inequality in Brazil, under the coordination of Professor Carmen E. Leitão Araújo (UFC).

On the second day, also under the general guidance and synthesis of professors Socorro de Sousa and Eliana Amorim, after a brief presentation of Ciranda, the Brazil of tomorrow was debated: ways to implement public policies in confronting social inequalities. It presented the social impacts and the testimony of leaders regarding the mobilization of actions to support populations affected by infectious and neglected diseases. Josefa de Oliveira Silva represented Rio Chagas and all Brazilian movements fighting Chagas disease, while Patrícia Soares represented the Movement for the Reintegration of People Affected by Leprosy (Morhan) and the Support Group for People Affected by Leprosy (Gamah). Dircilene Mendonça represented people affected by filariasis, while Fábio Correia presented the actions of the Pernambuco Committee for Social Mobilization for the Control of Tuberculosis. Neide Barros, president of the Brazilian Movement to Fight Viral Hepatitis, completed the presentations by the leaders. On the occasion, Professor Eliana Amorim highlighted that the Forum was also an important space for hosting the closing of the Leadership Strengthening Course coordinated by NHR-Brasil, a process of strategic formation to strengthen the Forum’s Social Movements for the exercise of citizenship and in the struggle for greater access to rights, based on its constitution in a participatory method. Read the document here.

At the end, João Victor Pacheco and Maurineia Roseno, representing people affected by leprosy, read the first version of the Letter, followed by a debate. The definitive version read during the closing ceremony of MEDTROP Play 2021, on October 27th, was presented by João Victor Pacheco (Morhan, Mato Grosso) and was open for public consultation with people participating in the Forum for contributions throughout MEDTROP. The document summarizes the Forum’s perspectives, agendas and demands and should be sent to government authorities, managers, social movements, organizations, the media and society in general.

About the Brazilian Social Forum for Combating Infectious and Neglected Diseases

It was established in Brazil in 2016 during the 52nd MEDTROP, in Maceió (AL), as a result of a broad democratic articulation of social movements and organizations, associations of people affected by different diseases, together with universities, foundations and research institutes, students, professionals of health and supporting citizens and citizens. In 2018, also during MEDTROP, the Brazilian Social Forum for Combating Infectious and Neglected Diseases agreed and released its Charter of Principles. Over the six years of its existence, it has acted as a space for representation, support, learning, empowerment, articulation and visibility, focusing on the fight for the defense of human and social rights of people and communities affected and/or living with infectious and neglected diseases. Representations to fight Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, leprosy, schistosomiasis, viral hepatitis, lymphatic filariasis and tuberculosis have been joining efforts and collective experiences since then, particularly in defense of the Unified Health System (SUS).

With global scope, this group of NTDs stands out in Brazil for the high burden of disease and death, as well as for being strongly linked to the low political prioritization of their control by the State, structural poverty, associated stigma, prejudice, and limited access to diagnosis and treatment in health services, low investment in research and technological advances for new diagnostic methods, evolutionary markers, drugs and monitoring of affected people in all stages of illness. The neglect of vulnerable people and territories makes room for their persistence, year after year, at various levels.

The Brazilian Social Forum for Combating Infectious and Neglected Diseases continues in its movements and struggle and will be composing once again in partnership with the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine (SBMT) the 57th MEDTROP, between November 13th and 16th, 2022 to be held in Belém (PA).