In Brazil, one in three health professionals (33.7%) believe that SUS should use treatments against Covid-19 even if there is no evidence of effectiveness in patients.
The data is from the Phase 4 survey conducted by Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) in partnership with Fiocruz and Rede Covid-19 Humanidades. Virtual interviews were conducted with 1,829 public health professionals in Brazil, including doctors, nursing professionals, community agents, and physiotherapists, among others, between 1 and 20 March 2021.
running Phase three, part of the health professionals who advocated for the use of medicines Without proving its efficacy it was similar (32%).
Community workers are the most advocate for its use in SUS (40.2%), but nursing professionals follow with 34.3%, while 22.2% of physicians defend the position.
The research is not representative of the whole community because it does not make a probability sample of the population, but it does bring some interesting aspects about perceptions of the epidemic in this category.
For the first time, the survey questioned the opinion of specialists about vaccination in an unprecedented way, because in the previous stages vaccinations against Covid-19 were not yet available.
Two out of three professionals said they believe vaccination is against Covid-19 It should be mandatory.
When results are disaggregated by profession, the view that a vaccine is an individual choice and should not be mandatory is greater among CHWs (42.8%), compared to nurses (27.3%) and physicians (18.2%).
For Gabriella Lotta, the public administration researcher and coordinator of the Center for Bureaucracy Studies at FGV, who is leading the research, it is surprising that 33% of professionals rejected the requirement that vaccinations be mandatory by a third of health professionals. “It’s even more shocking when we think of 43% of CHWs, because if there is something constantly being said about public health, vaccines are important tools for fighting diseases, and these are the professionals who go to families’ homes to give advice on vaccinations.”
Lotta also explains that the narrative created in the country around advocating for early treatment, either by the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro (no party) or by the Ministry of Health, could partially support a portion of health professionals who have seen benefit from the “Covid kit” .
Additionally, many of these professionals have received guidance on using these medications in their workplace.
Conversely, 87% of Participants said they had received at least one dose of the vaccineWhich is in line with the fact that health professionals, especially those working on the frontline of combating Covid-19, have been included in the early stages of vaccination in the country.
Even with the first vaccination doses, 9 out of 10 health professionals reported a fear of Covid-19. According to the study, there was no difference in this perception according to region, indicating a general feeling of fear and insecurity across this category across the country.
In this context, it stands to reason that many professionals not only fear contracting the infection but also pass it on to their families, as 96.6% of people interviewed said they knew a colleague with a suspicion or diagnosis of Covid-19 and about a third (31.2%) said They are already injured.
According to the Epidemiological Bulletin data released by the Ministry of Health on March 4, 2021, more than 144,000 suspected cases of Covid-19 have been reported among health professionals across the country, of which 39,000 have been confirmed. By far, the profession most at risk of contracting Covid-19 is nursing, with the highest record of confirmed cases – around 30%, or nearly 12,000.
In addition to being most vulnerable to the disease, nurses are also the ones who report experiencing more moral harassment during the pandemic (24.4%), and are often conditioned to work or perform tasks under pressure.
The survey also identified a previously reported issue: 8 out of 10 respondents had it Your mental health is negatively affected by the epidemicOnly 19% received some kind of psychological support.
“We expose professionals to physical and mental health problems without providing any support, and we demand to work non-stop, for twelve months, without any hope of improvement,” he says.
In the worst moments of the epidemic, this exacerbated feelings of fear (58.8%), fatigue (57.7%), loneliness (26.8%) and despair (26.6%). With all this feeling of exhaustion and anxiety, still a large portion (over 70% of professionals) say they have not had any training on the best way to operate in the Covid-19 service.
Thus the perception is that there is no government support in the three areas, despite a significant deterioration in the federal sphere (from 34.2% in the third round to 75.2% in the new phase). “It was also the first time that we had received criticism of Bolsonaro’s stance on Covid-19,” he says.
Finally, if there is inequality in the epidemic and it is documented in several ways, As the highest number of deaths among blacksIt also works with health professionals, most of whom are women and blacks, in the community worker and nurses categories (80%), and white men and women among physicians (78.8%).
“ Here, race, gender and profession have been added, which are also naturally related to race and gender, with black women being more in occupations with lower salaries, less socially valuable, and the combination of these factors makes these black women vulnerable to worse conditions in the epidemic compared to white women, who They are also exposed to worse conditions than white men. “