On Sunday 31 July, the Ministry of Health presented its operational plan for healthcare services during the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The plan is based on integrated efforts between the federal government and Rio's state and municipal governments. The actions involved, which are co-ordinated by the Integrated Centre for Joint Healthcare Operations (CIOCS), were detailed by José Manoel de Souza Marques, General Co-ordinator of the National Force of the SUS (Brazil’s National Unified Healthcare System) and by Jair Veiga, Director of Rio de Janeiro's Hospital Management Department, during a press conference held at the Rio Media Center (located at the Cidade Nova district of Rio).
The Ministry of Health invested R$ 73 million to acquire 146 new ambulances to improve services during the event. They have been temporarily assigned to the state of Rio for the Games, but will be distributed afterwards as a legacy. A total 135 hospital beds have also been created in federal hospitals to receive transfer patients from the municipal network. They will complement the 100 additional beds created in the state and municipal networks.
According to Jair Veiga, Hospital Management Director of the Ministry of Health in Rio de Janeiro, the hospital beds created for the Games do not compromise the healthcare services offered to the general population. "There is no guidance to 'block' hospital beds or suspend elective surgeries," he said.
According to José Manoel de Souza Marques, from the SUS National Force, the forecast is that 90% of cases will be resolved at primary healthcare units - health centres and family clinics. "Only critical patients will be transferred," said Marques. Occurrences are monitored by 125 Ministry of Health professionals working at the CIOCS.
According to the State Undersecretary for Health, Hellen Miyamoto, the 146 ambulances will support the operational plan developed by the Rio de Janeiro Fire Department. "We already have 50 ambulances in operation, reaching a peak of 126 per day. We have trained 1,500 professionals in basic support, and some also received advanced support training. Our main task now is to monitor how the plan develops and make any necessary adjustments," she said.
According to the Rio Municipal Secretary for Health, Daniel Soranz, Rio’s hospital network can serve up to 22,000 patients during the Games - twice the 11,000 served in London in 2012. "We have the capacity to transfer up to 720 patients and serve about 14,000 spectators and tourists. Our forecast is that 1 out of every 100 tourists will interact in some manner with the healthcare system," said Soranz. At least half of those, according to him, are likely to use the system to request medication for chronic diseases or on-site care for minor accidents.
The municipal healthcare network has expanded its service capacity to 145,000 patient treatments and renovated the trauma rooms in the reference hospitals of the Games (defined according to each competition cluster). They are:
● Souza Aguiar Municipal Hospital and the local Regional Emergency Co-ordination Unit (CER) for the Maracanã cluster;
● Salgado Filho Municipal Hospital and Engenho de Dentro UPA for the Engenhão Stadium;
● Albert Schweitzer Municipal Hospital for the Deodoro cluster;
● Municipal Hospital Lourenço Jorge and the Barra CER for the Barra da Tijuca cluster;
● Miguel Couto Municipal Hospital and Leblon CER for the Copacabana cluster.
According to Marques, National Force officers have received special training for the Games and will be ready for emergency scenarios. "We have trained 1,700 professionals to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) hazards. If necessary, we will receive support from the Army and the Air Force, which has two aircrafts available," Marques said.
By Saturday (30 July), the Integrated Centre for Joint Healthcare Operations (CIOCS) had already monitored 21 health events, and none was linked to Zika or dengue symptoms. "By November 2015, the numbers already indicated that Zika would not be a problem during the Games. Therefore, for us this matter is already behind us," said Secretary Daniel Soranz.
Unlike the northern hemisphere, it will be winter in Brazil during the Games, when epidemiological indices for Aedes aegypti-borne diseases are historically in full decline and reach their lowest in the year. In 2015, for example, the number of dengue cases between August and September - the period of the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games - was approximately seven times lower than the peak of reported cases in the year. In 2016, the Ministry of Health has already identified a sharp decline in the incidence of these diseases even before the usual period, a result of Brazil's national mobilisation against the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Epidemiological Surveillance teams will maintain control actions during the Games. More than 3,000 professionals in the city of Rio will be specifically focusing on combatting the Aedes aegypti. In addition to Rio de Janeiro, the Federal District and the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Bahia and Amazonas (i.e. the states where the other football cities are located) will all hold mosquito control actions at competition venues, Olympic Villages and their surroundings.
The Ministry of Health is working in partnership with the city of Rio and the states of the other football host cities - Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, São Paulo and Manaus.
Rio 2016 has integrated plan for public healthcare infrastructure and management
Operations Centre is ready to act on emergencies, says Ministry of Health representative
Rio de Janeiro (31 July 2016) - The general co-ordinator of the National Force of the Unified Healthcare System (SUS), José Manoel de Souza Marques, highlighted the Ministry of Health's integrated efforts with the states and municipalities that will host competitions in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Check out the key points addressed by the Ministry representative:
Rio Media Center - How will the healthcare network be organised to serve the public coming to Brazil for the Olympic and Paralympic Games?
Marques - The Ministry of Health has been working in partnership with the states and municipalities where competitions will be held (i.e. Rio de Janeiro and the five other football host cities) to improve the infrastructure and organisation of public healthcare services focusing on the Games. One of the initiatives under this effort is an Operations Centre created to act in emergency situations and assist in organising the healthcare network. We have also delivered 146 new ambulances, which after the Games will renew the fleet of the Emergency Medical Service (SAMU) in Rio de Janeiro and other cities around the country.
In the health surveillance area, prevention actions are being intensified for communicable diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, zika, HIV/AIDS, STDs, influenza, measles and ebola. Surveillance actions will focus on healthcare and catering services, as well as ports, airports and border crossings. Other integrated actions – operated in partnership with security bodies such as the Ministry of Defence – are focused on preparedness for potential accidents involving chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) hazards, which may lead to a deployment of the SUS National Force, for instance.
RMC - Is Brazil safe against Zika?
Marques - Unlike the northern hemisphere, it will be winter in Brazil during the Games, when historically epidemiological indices for Aedes aegypti-borne diseases are in full decline and reach their lowest in the year. In 2015, for example, the number of dengue cases between August and September - the period of the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games - was approximately seven times lower than the peak of reported cases in the year. In 2016, the Ministry of Health identified a sharp decline in the incidence of these diseases even before the usual period as a result of Brazil's national mobilisation against the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
RMC - Does Brazil's Unified Healthcare System (SUS) also serve foreign tourists free of charge?
Marques - Public health services in Brazil are free of charge, and also serve all foreigners in cases of urgency and emergency. Foreigners residing in Brazil (with a permanent visa) have full access to SUS services. The Ministry of Health’s official website has a Traveller's Health section (http://portalsaude.saude.gov.br/index.php/o-ministerio/principal/secretarias/svs/viajante-en) where Brazilian and foreign tourists can have access to key recommendations on how to protect against diseases in Brazil and the entire healthcare infrastructure available.
Operations Centre monitors risk scenarios 24/7 during Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games
Federal healthcare system receives 2,500 temporary health professionals, 135 new hospital beds and 146 new ambulances
The healthcare services operation put in place by the Ministry of Health for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games includes significant expansions in the facilities and personnel available to meet the demand during the event. Temporary professionals will be hired and troops from the National Force will be stationed in Rio de Janeiro, reported the Director of the Rio de Janeiro section of the Ministry of Health's Hospital Management Department (DGH-RJ), Jair Veiga.
Check out the main points addressed during the interview by the Ministry representative:
RMC - What will Brazil do to expand service capacity in the healthcare sector?
Veiga:We have hired 2,500 temporary healthcare workers, including physicians, nurses and other professionals, to enhance healthcare in hospitals managed by the federal government in the state, and to help staff the 135 additional hospital beds that will be opened in federal healthcare system units. Also, 146 new ambulances will be available to increase coverage for the population. In addition to physical infrastructure, the Ministry of Health will have teams from the SUS National Force in Rio de Janeiro on call to meet any ad hoc demands. An operations centre will also be set up to monitor risk scenarios, act in times of public health emergency and assist in organising the healthcare network.
RMC - Will the Zika virus disrupt the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games?
Veiga: The Zika virus will not prevent athletes, participants and spectators from enjoying safe and unforgettable Games. The risks are minimal. The Brazilian Government is fully committed to ensuring that the 2016 Games will take place safely and smoothly. The government’s co-ordinated actions at federal, state and municipal levels to combat the Zika virus, combined with the measures taken by the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, Brazil's national mobilisation scheme against the mosquito and public investment in surveillance and prevention actions, have already led to an early decline in Zika cases.
RMC - What preventive actions will be taken during the Olympic Games?
Veiga - More than 3,000 professionals in the city of Rio de Janeiro will focus specifically on combating the Aedes aegypti mosquito. In addition to Rio de Janeiro, the Federal District and the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Bahia and Amazonas (i.e. the states where the other football cities are located) will all hold mosquito control actions at competition venues, Olympic Villages and their surroundings. The arenas and locations that will host delegations and the press will be monitored and inspected in advance and throughout the Games. In addition to the on-site inspections, informative brochures will be distributed in three languages with disease prevention guidance. The other states of the country all take continuous action to eliminate mosquito breeding sites as well.