His refusal has resulted in healthcare professionals no longer receiving support and seeking patients without the appropriate means of prevention or therapy. Brazil recorded more than 16.7 million cases during the pandemic, and the cost of daily loss of life is currently around 2,000. Although it fell from the daily highs of 4,000 during the second wave in April, it is still one of the highest on earth.
While the standard and availability of health care in a country as large as Brazil can vary, even the best medical services in the country are on the verge of collapse, and only affluent areas like São Paulo have seen growth.
And 6 months after the Amazon oxygen disaster, mothers and babies are still feeling the results.
Every year around 340,000 babies are born prematurely in Brazil – 37 weeks in the past. That is twice as much as in Europe and, measured by the World Well Being Group (WHO), the 10th highest number of premature births worldwide. Many important remedies for these infants, along with early breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact with their father and mother, are being exposed in hospitals across the country, although there is evidence that their progress, growth, and even survival threats are far greater than with Covid-19.
While the diversity of premature babies in Brazil for 2020 has not yet been presented, specialists such as Denise Suguitani – founder and director of the non-profit Prematuridade, the country’s only national NGO that supports premature babies and their households – suspect an increase compared to previous years.
Prenatal care could deter many mothers from giving birth prematurely, but Covid-19 has made expectant fathers and mothers more likely to skip these doctor visits. In accordance with a study conducted by the Brazilian Gynecological and Obstetrical Association in July and August last year, 81% of obstetricians / gynecologists surveyed said their patients were implicated in Covid-19 infection during their prenatal appointments .
“Prenatal appointments pose the risk of premature delivery,” says Suguitani. “So if a pregnant woman skips an appointment or an exam, the chances are that a pregnancy problem that would lead to premature delivery could go undetected.”
Infection with Covid-19 during pregnancy can be considered premature birth. According to Rossiclei Pinheiro, pediatrician and neonatologist at the Federal College of Amazonas, premature births can set in if the coronavirus-related inflammatory reaction – or some other type of infection – manifests within the amniotic sac and it ruptures prematurely.
In various cases, infants whose mothers had Covid-19 had to be deliberately given early.
“If the mother has Covid and has breathing problems, the child can suffocate in the uterus,” says Pinheiro.
The risks of limited contact
In the wake of the pandemic, hospitals have few NICU guests and some staff have even prevented mum and dad from touching their babies. Pinheiro and various specialists believe that this is the wrong method.
A very necessary type of skin-to-skin contact is for newborns to relax chest to chest on a mother or father. Known as kangaroo care, it has been shown to reduce infant mortality by 40%, hypothermia by over 70%, and extreme infections by 65%. In a March research, the WHO and accomplice researchers found that infants born to Covid-infected mothers had survived better with kangaroo care, and the benefits far outweighed the low risk of dying from the virus.
Carla Luana da Silva, a 27-year-old lady from the state of São Paulo, was not only prevented from looking after her extraordinarily premature child, but also from all contact with her. Da Silva says this was one of the most difficult elements of the child’s 81-day stay in the neonatal intensive care unit.