THE Minas Gerais State Department of Health (SES-MG) awarded this week to the Regional Health Directorates (GRS) the best indicators of actions related to the fight against tuberculosis. The GRS of Pirapora, in the north of Minas, the first winner of the prize, was presented during the IV Workshop for the Fight against Tuberculosis, in the Administrative City, in Belo Horizonte.
The event was also an opportunity to discuss strategies to deal with the disease in the state of Minas Gerais, especially with regard to management and surveillance processes, as well as social aspects.
The regional technical reference of the Tuberculosis Programme, Gilza Francisca Alves, emphasizes that the award demonstrates the appreciation and recognition of the efforts made to improve or guarantee the health of the population, in particular with regard to tuberculosis. “This action and this event are strategic. Tuberculosis remains a serious public health problem. We reinforce our commitment to reproducing in a timely manner all requests, directives or other service needs requested.
Gilza strengthens joint work with municipalities. “I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have contributed to this merit, with good practices in the routine of services that have resulted in the execution of the indicators. I emphasize that it was necessary to implement and improve the way in which the activities were carried out through the transfer of information on the contents covered in the Manual of Recommendations for Tuberculosis Control in Brazil,” says -he.
Technical reference for tuberculosis control at GRS Barbacena, in Campo das Vertentes, Ana Cristina dos Santos was one of the winners of the event. “Winning a prize is always rewarding and in this context even more so. We had to take place in the context of the pandemic, which brought difficulties, for example, in the search of the population for health services. And the overload of the health service makes it difficult to adhere to and continue treatment, because it takes longer. On a personal level, I had a great loss, my mother, because of the covid-19”, he says.
Another regional health unit awarded was Uberaba, in Triângulo Mineiro. The technical reference on tuberculosis, leprosy and surveillance of deaths through epidemiological surveillance of the regional health unit of Uberaba, Júnia Vilela de Oliveira, stressed the importance of recognizing the work of the team.
“We at the URS Epidemiological Surveillance Center in Uberaba are delighted with this recognition. Considering the many difficulties in dealing with other problems caused by the covid-19 pandemic, both at municipal and regional level, professionals have done their best to ensure that tuberculosis does not go unnoticed. We share this award with the 27 municipalities of the Triângulo Sul health macro-region, key players in the health battle that we are all waging in 2021”.
“Tuberculosis is still a widespread disease in Minas Gerais. In 2021 we had 3,487 cases of the disease in the state and 552 of the 853 municipalities in Minas Gerais recorded cases. It is important to develop strategies with the contribution of the regions with the central level team and to offer adequate treatment to the population”, underlines the Undersecretary of Health Surveillance at the SES-MG, Herica Vieira Santos.
The workshop, on March 15 and 16, referenced World Tuberculosis Day, celebrated on March 24. “It is an important date to raise awareness of the disease. This workshop was created to promote important discussions on adaptation strategies in the state. We are in the process of updating the state plan to end tuberculosis as a public health problem, based on the national plan. Our plan is structured based on the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and also includes innovative experiences and specificities of our state”, explains the coordinator of the National Tuberculosis Program at SES-MG, Maíra Veloso.
The event had the participation of technical references from 28 regional health units, strategic municipalities, macro-regional laboratories, Ezequiel Dias Foundation (Funed) and the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), in addition to external speakers, representatives of the Rio de Janeiro Ministry of Health and references from the Secretary of State for Justice and Public Security of Minas Gerais (Sejusp-MG).
Tuberculosis is a curable disease and diagnosis and treatment are available through the Unified Health System (SUS). For the success of the treatment, it is important that the patient takes the medicine daily, in adequate doses and for the expected duration, which is usually at least six months. With about 15 days of treatment, most people no longer transmit the disease, which prevents new cases. For the coordinator of the National Tuberculosis Program at SES-MG, Maíra Veloso, one of the main challenges is to raise public awareness of the disease.
“TB can affect anyone, although certain groups are more at risk of becoming ill. Coughing for three weeks or more is one of the main symptoms. We have in the SUS the availability of diagnosis and treatment. It is important that people know what symptoms to look for in Basic Health Units (UBS),” he explains.
Concerning the treatment, Veloso insists on the importance of observance until the end. “In general, in the first months of treatment, the symptoms regress and after 15 days the patient no longer transmits the disease, but it is necessary that the patient carries out the treatment correctly until the end, that is at least 6 months, which it can be cured Regarding treatment and diagnosis, the SUS has several technologies such as a rapid molecular test which establishes a diagnosis and also indicates whether the patient has resistance to the main drug to be treated.
The interface between Primary Health Care and Epidemiological Surveillance of the Regional Health Superintendence of Belo Horizonte (SRS-BH) has been identified as strategic by the Primary Health Care (PHC) Technical Reference of SRS-BH , Roseli Lima.
“The event promotes the development of actions and strategies involving different and complementary sectors on the issue of tuberculosis. Primary care, as a gateway, and epidemiological surveillance, improve access and treatment of the population”. In this context, the Superintendent of epidemiological surveillance of the SES-MG, Elice Eliane Nobre Ribeiro, highlights the role of the Regional Health Units (URS). “TB is historically neglected. The URS works in the municipalities of Minas Gerais with the objective of early detection of tuberculosis and follow-up until the citizen completes treatment. There is work done in partnership with the APS in active research. It is important to congratulate the award-winning regionals and that they continue to be our partners”.
Learn more about the disease, its treatment and diagnosis at www.saude.mg.gov.br/tuberculosis.