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Iury Lima – from Cenarium Magazine

PORTO VELHO – The capital of Rondônia, Porto Velho, is one more of the great cities of the Amazon that joined the early treatment for Covid-19. In May this year, the publicist Magali Guimarães, 36 years old, had symptoms similar to those caused by the new coronavirus and looked for a health unit in the city where she lives. Even before the results of an exam, she received a prescription and pills of ivermectin, azithromycin and paracetamol, some of the medicines from the “Kit Covid”.

Magali was seen at the Pedacinho de Chão Family Health Unit (USF), in the Embratel neighborhood. The institution is one of 39 points of Basic Health Care working alongside 12 other health care centers in the capital of the state of Rondonia. The publicist says that she did not use any of the prescribed substances, preferring to bet on the ingestion of daily vitamins and the adoption of other precautions against the flu – what she really had at that moment. The result of the Covid-19 test was negative.

Magali says she was surprised to receive a prescription for early treatment of the disease even before it was certain whether she was infected or not. “I told the doctor about my flu symptoms and she already referred me to get the medicines and get tested. I received the drugs without being sure whether I was positive or not”, she said.

The publicist Magali Guimarães, received azithromycin and ivermectin in the public health system of Porto Velho, even without confirmation by Covid-19 examination (Personal archive)

The publicist points out the concern that the population is being used as an experiment, without giving consent to do so. “I think that we are being made of guinea pigs and that these drugs are more to ease the mind than Covid-19, because the person takes them thinking that they will get better, but none of these drugs that I reported has scientific proof and this ends up harming and overloading our body, which metabolizes a medication without the need to use it”, she analyzed.

Magali highlights that it is necessary to remember that other diseases still exist. “Flu still exists. Cold still exists. Virus diseases still exist. But, if everything is treated early with ineffective drugs, besides mistreating the body, it is a waste of public money, and who wins more and more is the pharmaceutical industry”, she said.

There was, yes, the acquisition of such drugs, leaving it up to each professional to prescribe or not”, Marilene Penati, Porto Velho’s assistant health secretary.

Disorganization

Going through Basic Health Units (UBSs) of Porto Velho, between July 22 and 23, as a patient suspected case of Covid-19, in order to check the delivery of “Covid Kits”, the CENARIUM reporting faced a long game of resistance and patience.

Although the Municipal Health Department (Semusa) claims that all units serve citizens who may be carrying the virus, it is enough to get to one of them to be referred to another and another, besides dealing with lack of internal communication and inconsistent information.

(Personal Archive)

Passing by units considered as reference in the Covid-19 service and even bumping into the limitation to do the rapid test, the reporter was only able to get into the 24-hour Emergency Care Unit (UPA) of the South Zone, where, with luck, one could get the test, even when arriving “by surprise”, due to the priority for prior scheduling by phone.

After the triage, it took another three hours until the medical evaluation and test request. Still during the consultation, the doctor on site decided to prescribe an injection of penicillin G. Benzathine, a medication recommended to treat the reported symptoms, such as fever, headache and fatigue – another prescription of dubious utility.

When asked about the possibility of providing other drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, the doctor was suspicious and rebutted, reinforcing questions about personal data and the reason for the visit to Porto Velho. Finally, after a whisper with a coworker, she informed that she could prescribe the “Covid Kit” depending on the test results. The test for Covid-19 was negative and the professional was sought in her office again, but it was empty. In the Pharmacy sector, a woman employee reported that she didn’t know if the doctor was still at the health unit.

The doctor’s attitude is in line with the justification of the assistant secretary of Health of the city, Marilene Penati, who admitted the purchase of drugs from the “Covid Kit”, but blamed the front-line attendants. “There was, yes, the purchase of such drugs, leaving it up to each professional to prescribe or not. Therefore, we follow the scientific recommendations. But each professional is responsible for his registration and can indeed prescribe. However, there is no determination or protocol for this”, he explained. The capital Porto Velho is the city in the state of Rondônia with the highest concentration of Covid-19 cases, and is about to surpass the accumulation of 90 thousand diagnoses.