by Patrícia Deps
New edition of info Hansen addresses challenges in facing Hansen's disease in Brazil
The university extension project, Informa Hanseníase, launches its second edition on November 1st, 2020
This is an educational project about Hansen's disease aimed at a wide and varied audience. More than 80% of the 200,000 new cases of Hansen's disease annually occur in only 3 countries, India, Indonesia and Brazil, and the latter is responsible for more than 90% of cases in Latin America. Brazil is one of the countries most severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and a multi-professional team developed the info Hansen while the universities were closed. The project arose from an initiative to involve medical students in Brazil with the theme of a disease that is still endemic in their country.
The wide and varied content of the website includes contributions from several countries, provides access to up-to-date scientific articles and makes available a book on Online Clinical Practice in Hansen's disease, written by researchers and professionals from Brazil and other countries.
On a global health theme, there is a link between 's info Hansen and a committee recently created to assist migrants from endemic countries, such as Brazil, who are in countries where Hansen's disease is a rare occurrence, without access to health systems. The Committee to Assist the Brazilian Immigrant Affected by Hansen's Disease (CAIBAH) will be an electronic partner resource to info Hansen, providing information to immigrants with Hansen's disease who encounter difficulties and prejudice in their new countries of residence.
As a digital platform, info Hansen aims to disseminate what is being done in Brazil and the world to improve the lives of people affected by Hansen's disease, as well as new scientific findings and ethical reflections. In this way channels of communication with people from different parts of the world are provided and information is published whenever possible in four languages: Portuguese, Spanish, English and French.
Info Hansen seeks to reduce the imbalance in information generated and shared by Hansen's disease-endemic countries. Above all, at the heart of info Hansen is the recognition of an equal relationship between health professionals and people affected by the disease. The flow of information, ideas and experiences across this bridge and the mutual respect it will engender are essential for the elimination of Hansen's disease.
This issue brought together interviews with activists from NGOs and social movements against the stigma of Hansen's disease addressing issues that require our attention.
The main theme of the November issue is the transmission of Hansen's disease. In addition to scientific and academic content, the first issue brought together interviews with activists from NGOs and social movements against the stigma of Hansen's disease. Hansen's disease has existed in Brazil for more than 400 years, and Brazil is an endemic country with a significant number of people affected by the disease. The transmission of Hansen's disease is still a controversial and little known issue, and past mistakes such as isolating the sick in colonial hospitals and separating healthy children from their mothers was an inhumane response. For a better understanding of Hansen's disease and of people affected by the disease, an interprofessional approach is needed. For a better understanding of the transmission of the disease, a One Health approach is necessary.
The November edition of the Blog has contributions from experienced professionals. Highlights include an essay by physiotherapist Carmelita Filha Coriolano, National Coordinator of the Hansen's disease Control Program, and dermatologist Ciro Gomes, Professor at University of Brasília, who discuss obstacles to the elimination of Hansen's disease in Brazil. The dermatologist Claudio Salgado, Professor at Federal University of Pará, currently President of the Brazil Hansen's Disease Society, analyses the prospect of the elimination of Hansen's disease from Brazil and the rest of the world.
In this second edition, new Blog articles address controversial issues in Hansen's disease, including: the importance of chemoprophylaxis to interrupt the chain of transmission; a discussion on what are the sources of M. leprae; biosecurity for health workers; Hansen's disease among immigrants; obstacles to the prevention of disabilities in the care of people affected by Hansen's disease in Brazil; Hansen's disease as a zoonosis and the concept of One Health; and an innovative essay that poses a challenge to person-centered medicine by asking what (besides a bacillus) is transmitted in Hansen's disease. Several more chapters of the book ‘Hansen's disease in Clinical Practice’ have been made available, with reviews of ophthalmologic, oral and neurological aspects of Hansen’s disease. Not to be missed!
On our YouTube channel, you can watch an interview with dermatologist Laila de Laguiche (PR), President of the Alliance Against Leprosy, talking about educational and social projects for people affected by Hansen's disease. There is a fascinating interview with psychologist Karla Dantas about the difficulties of caring and being cared for, and two interviews with veterans in the fight against Hansen's disease in Brazil - Professor Clodis Tavares (AL), a nurse, and Dora Martins Cypreste (ES), a social worker. You will also find a lecture on the immunopathology of Hansen's disease delivered by Professor Ana Paula Vieira, from Uniasselvi.
With the launch of the November edition, info Hansen will host a new page dedicated to human rights. This page will provide access to the UN reports on Hansen's disease, especially provided by Alice Cruz, UN Special Rapporteur for Hansen's disease.
From the Brazilian ‘Virtual Health Library’ to WHO, word about info Hansen has spreading around the Globe
info Hansen has been recognized in Brazil, receiving an invitation to be listed in the "Hansen's disease" section of the Virtual Health Library as an important search address, in addition to being promoted by the Brazilian Society of Hansenology in an exclusive article.
From an international perspective, info Hansen was recognized and commented on in the World Health Organization's Goodwill Ambassador's Newsletter on Elimination of Hansen's disease. An Open Access article on info Hansen was published in the scientific journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases and info Hansen was disseminated by other institutions and websites including infoLep and Netherlands Leprosy Relief, Fontilles in Spain, the Sasakawa Health Foundation in Japan, members of The Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy and others.
As a way to share and gain further recognition of info Hansen’s achievements, the program was approved and presented in three national congresses (COBEM, CONCIAM and CNIPC) and in a national training meeting held by DENEM.