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Published in: 11/28/2018

4th RETS General Meeting discusses primary health care

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Julia Neves - EPSJV/Fiocruz

To consolidate the International Network of Health Technicians Education (RETS) and its mission to support the training and qualification of technical workers in health, in international cooperation processes in the Americas and in the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP). This was the main objective of the 4th General Meeting of RETS, held from November 12 to 14 in Rio de Janeiro, together with the 4th RETS-CPLP Ordinary Meeting in Rio de Janeiro. For three days, about 40 institutional representatives evaluated the work done over the years and, among other things, drafted the network work plan for the period 2019-2022. The group also defined and agreed with a communication plan for RETS, as well as relegated EPSJV/Fiocruz as the executive secretariat of the Network. On the first day of the event, after the opening ceremony, the seminar '40 years of Alma-Ata and the role of health technical workers in the implementation of universal health systems' was held, with the presence of Paulo Buss, former president and current coordinator of the Center for International Relations in Health (CRIS) of Fiocruz, and Isabel Duré, Secretary of Health of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of Argentina. The seminar was opened to the public and broadcasted live over the Internet. At the end of the meeting, members of RETS issued the Declaration of Rio de Janeiro, in which they asked local, regional and global authorities to pay more attention to the training and work of health technicians.

The opening table

Manuel Lapão, director of international cooperation at the CPLP, acknowledged that 70 years after the right to health had been established at Universal Declaration of Human Rights signing and 40 years after the Declaration of Alma Ata, the Astana Charter, the result of a conference held at the end of October, represents a setback. "International leaders forget the principle of multilateralism and the way this letter was conceived, with the set of rights and guarantees designed for the peoples. Today, 70 years later, there are assumptions that are being attacked on different fronts, and I believe that in the health area, technical schools and institutions are responsible and must change these principles", said Lapão. "Many challenges need to be overcome, and we will only achieve this more effectively when we organize ourselves in the network. Knowing that it is possible to work together and that, certainly, these actions will be more prodigal if they are tooled collectively. So, I hope that we can take the necessary step to strengthen the Unified Health System in the country and to appreciate health technicians", added Rosa de Souza, representing the Executive Secretariat of the Public Health School Networks of South America and of the CPLP, headquartered at the National School of Public Health Sérgio Arouca (Ensp / Fiocruz).

José Rodrigues Freire Filho, international consultant for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), reaffirmed the role of PAHO/WHO in the process of support and technical cooperation with Joaquim Venâncio Polytechnic School of Health (EPSJV/Fiocruz): “Ass well as we have done since the creation of RETS in 1996, PAHO/WHO remains united in this process of creating and proposing new work plans, aligned with the most prominent objectives in this scenario of health systems change."

According to the EPSJV/Fiocruz director, Anakeila Stauffer, although the category of health technicians is essential for the structuring and functioning of national health systems, it is still invisible. "We have worked to make this important professional category more visible and for that we, periodically, seek to gather for evaluate what we have done and to design future work," she said. According to Anakeila, since the beginning of the RETS, health technicians are considered all those who perform technical-scientific activities within the health sector, not restricting the notion of education of these workers at their level of graduation. "So, these technicians would be those who practice activities considered simple, whose requirement for education is limited to the first grades of elementary education, primary education, which we call auxiliary and technical of the various specialties in systems and, and in addition, who have technical education as well as those who have a higher graduation, which in Brazil we call technologists. Our conception of technician is more extended. We think about the work process, not the question of the academic training of these workers, "she said. Marcos Menezes, vice president of Environment, Attention and Health Promotion of Fiocruz, who represented the president of the foundation, Nísia Trindade, highlighted the current sociopolitical context, which he considered "a major setback in social achievements and in the health field." Networking, for Menezes, is essential for overcoming these adversities. "There is a great questioning in our country about the role of public institutions committed to universal health systems. And Fiocruz has been firmly in the defense of SUS. At this point, a fundamental and strategic issue is the training of technicians and networking. Data, such as the country's return to the hunger map and the rise in infant mortality, shows the size of the challenge ahead. "

The issue of health as a transversal theme of Agenda 2030 and the objectives of sustainable development was highlighted by the representative of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), Alessandra Ambrósio: "It is not really possible to talk about sustainable development without thinking about health, promotion mechanisms, universal health systems, strengthening the training of technicians and professionals, strengthening national public health institutes ".

The representative of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, Layana Costa, reiterated the role of the Ministry of Health's International Advisory Board to continue working to strengthen and articulate the South-South cooperation initiatives between the various managements, coordinations, institutes, and Fiocruz. "The importance of this dialogue and the strengthening of connections between nations is very clear. It is not only a matter of disseminating and spraying good practices in other countries, but the technical cooperation between the countries of the South is an active attitude in defense of our health policy. Every time we go out to dialogue with other countries, to discuss good practices in other realities, we are reinforcing our practices and our SUS", she said.

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