In the modern day of doctor-patient confidentiality and the computerization of medical records, there is little chance of a whole family visiting a practice for advice, or the merrygo-round of doctors being able to spot and act upon a root cause from people who live in the same place. The ‘sticking plaster’ solution gets people back on their feet again and allows them to get on with their life until the next illness crops up, but does nothing to provide or promote an environment that makes these illnesses less likely. In many parts of the world, especially the poorer parts, there has to be a sea change in how medicine is administered. This is where pioneers like Vera Cordeiro come in.
Saúde Criança Association (ASC), is an independent social organization founded by Dr. Vera Cordeiro in 1991 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil that pioneered an innovative methodology to assist poor families that have a sick child undergoing treatment at a public health facility. The crisis becomes real when the pre-existing challenges of poverty worsen with the need to care for the child’s health, threatening the family’s integrity even further. ASC promotes self-sufficiency of Brazilian families with children suffering from acute and chronic disease typically linked with poverty. Saúde Criança’s program, the ‘Family Action Plan’ (FAP), adopts an innovative methodology: it is based on the principle that poverty is one of the important causes of disease. The causes of poverty and illness are multidimensional. The plan, which consists of a multidisciplinary team exerts integrated actions in the areas of health, education, citizenship, housing, and income, and is built based on each family’s needs. Besides overcoming the immediate difficulties inherent to the child’s post-hospitalization phase, the entity’s goal is to offer orientation and opportunities so that the family unit has its rights guaranteed and can enjoy a reasonable quality of life.
Saúde Criança fights for social inclusion by promoting human development. The crucial element of the methodology and one of the keys to its success is the family’s active participation elaborating the plan, objectives, and goals to be met during each phase over the two years in which it is part of the program. Every family is assisted individually, according to their needs and potential, during a period of approximately two years. The family’s progress is tracked during regular meetings with the Saúde Criança team with the objective of helping the family achieve dignity and autonomy.
Read more about Saúde Criança and Dr Vera Cordeiro in my book “The Healthcare Gamechangers” now available as kindle e-book worldwide and paperback in select markets.