An example of the effectiveness of the MMC Telemedicine Program can be readily seen through a recent tribute to Dr. Evelyn Eisenstein, our partner from the University Hospital in Brazil. Eight years ago MMC donated two telemedicine units to this Hospital so they could have consultations with the larger hospitals in the United States.

In eight short years 44 other Brazillian Institutions have adopted the telemedicine program and a network grew. They now consult within the country and internationally on a daily basis.

Dr.Einstien

The lesson is clear and it is a repeatable one: by planting a few seeds we can create a harvest.

Read this article which has been translated from Portuguese:

May 8th is celebrated as the National Day of Health in Brazil. The date was chosen in honor of Brazilian doctor Oswaldo Cruz, a pioneer in the study of tropical diseases. RNP coordinates the Network University of Telemedicine (Rute), which supports integration and collaboration between professionals in the healthcare industry through Special Interest Groups (SIG).

One of the first groups formed was SIG Health of Children, coordinated by pediatricians and the coordinator of the telemedicine program at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Dr. Evelyn Eisenstein. Since the creation of the program eight years ago, RUTE has held 85 video conference sessions involving approximately 560 professionals from 47 institutions, including teachers, resident physicians, specialists and various undergraduate courses in the medical health field. In the interview below Dr. Evelyn tells a little more about this endeavor:

1) How is the work done by SIG?

SIG is characterized by a shared management model. Coordinating the group of doctors is Suzy Cavalcante, from the Federal University Bahia (UFBA), and John Amaral, from the University Federal do Ceará (UFC). SIG’s mission is to bring together professionals from various national institutions and facilitate international discussions on themes relevant to the health of Brazilian children and adolescents, including issues related to Health Rights, according to the priorities of the Convention of Children’s Rights, the United Nations Organization (UN) and the Statute of Children and Adolescents. Demand for knowledge exchange on health issues and themes, plus updates involving children and teens is huge and of great interest.

The meetings are held monthly by video conference. The topics covered in the sessions vary according to availability and the suggestions of the speakers. We have already attended to several of our agenda issues such as health rights, dengue, HIV-AIDS, autism, early childhood diseases, among many other nationally relevant topics for pediatricians. For example, one video conference about preventing violence and abuse to children and adolescents was viewed for five years afterward. Even today it continues to be a popular video conference. Over 4,000 professionals, more than 400 municipalities have viewed this conference, thereby improving their care practices and interventions. Another example is the translation and adaptation of the Portuguese Abused Baby/Cerebral Trauma or Shaken Baby Syndrome. Video education for parents and families was provided, with the material produced by the Children’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia. And after the launch by RUTE, we’ve had more than 31,000 views on YouTube. Other examples include exchanges of experiences with other organizations – both national and international networks, including the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

telemedicine map2 ) Today there are 44 Brazilian institutions that participate in the group. Are there also International holdings?

In our eight years of existence, the group presented significant growth in the number of participants and employees. Portuguese-speaking countries are represented through the partnership with the network ePORTUGUÊSe WHO. Some English speaking countries also entered into partnerships with us, such as Children’s Hospital Boston (Harvard Medical School), Georgetown University (Washington, DC) and the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN). This year, we will have a scheduled session Dr. Maristela Monteiro, PAHO, in Washington, DC. She is a Brazilian doctor who, specializes in the issues of alcohol and drug prevention and early intervention in childhood to diminish these risks, which are very relevant topics in Brazil.

3 ) Has SIG held a special session or made an impact on an important issue that is worth highlighting?

Depending on the extent and severity of the subject, we hold extra sessions to explain a subject previously unknown. We held extra sessions during the the outbreak of the Ebola virus and fever Chikungunya, a disease resembling dengue, transmitted by the infectious bite of the Aedes aegypti. The virus moves to the joints of patients and causes inflammation with severe pain accompanied by swelling, redness and localized  heat. We also advanced multiple necessary agendas for popularly seen subjects in our country, like we did for the meetings about the Child and Adolescent Card, the Stork Network and the National Health Program/Child Health Ministry.

In Rio de Janeiro, April 2012, we partnered with several national and international institutions, to see SIG hold the First Meeting International Technologies. These concerned the use of Information for Children and Adolescents/Young Adults. We discussed how the digital world and the Internet affect children, adolescents and young adults. Lectures and video conferences were held on ethics, safety, health and education, with speakers. WHO participants in Geneva presented the work of ePORTUGUÊSe Network and Medical Missions for Children, straight from the United States.

This event was broadcast across the media and on TV which spurred other developments later on, including the publication of the book “Living This Digital World.”