Little Lara is "a month or so", lives in one of the spikes from the village of Aljezur, but has already had the right to a pediatric consultation that opened, in the Algarve, a new project that brings together the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve and the Regional Health Administration. This is the CHUA + Proximity Decentralized Consultation Project.
Around noon, next to her house in the Barrada area, the young mother, Jamile Rodrigues, of Brazilian nationality, was smiling, with her little daughter in her arms, waiting for the team to arrive for the girl's first pediatric consultation.
On board the new mobile unit of the Aljezur Health Center, Lara was weighed and measured by the nurse João Manuel, from Pediatrics at the Portimão unit of CHUA, and then carefully examined by the pediatrician Maria Auxiliadora Pereira.
"It's great! It helps a lot to have more confidence", assured the mother Jamile to the Sul Informação. "It's great that the pediatrician comes to us to help, to see if the baby is okay," she continued. Jamile arrived in Portugal just five months ago to live with her husband who works in Aljezur, and it would be very difficult to go to the hospital in Portimão for an appointment, not least because there is not enough public transport to make the trip easier.
This is exactly what pediatrician Maria Auxiliadora Pereira points out to our newspaper: «it is very important to be able to reach patients, improve their access to health. Many people live in places far from the hospital, and they often do not have the resources to travel. So, we are the ones who reach these people».
The pediatrician recalls that Jamile and her little daughter Lara have been followed “by the Health Center, but by the family doctor and nursing staff. What I came here to do was the evaluation by the pediatrics». And that can make a difference. Fortunately, in Lara's case, all was well, having turned out to be a healthy girl.
Young mother Jamile assured that she will continue to take advantage of this opportunity to have a pediatrician follow her daughter's evolution.
And so it will be, once a month, in the case of Pediatrics on the first Wednesday of each month. The mothers and children who want to, just have to schedule the appointment at the Aljezur Health Centre, which will then be the pediatrics team, with the properly equipped Mobile Health Unit, which will meet the people, next to their place of residence. «The idea is to make the most of the 8 hours a month that we will be here in Aljezur», explained pediatrician Maria Auxiliadora Pereira.
Since yesterday, June 1st, was Children's Day, the first specialty to start this new project was Pediatrics. But others will follow: to begin with, there will also be Internal Medicine and General Surgery consultations, always in places where patients' journeys are more complex. Aljezur is the first Health Center, but it is planned to expand this offer in the coming months.
Ana Varges Gomes, chairman of the CHUA Board of Directors, said, in the presentation of the project at the Aljezur Health Center, that the "expected expansion" will be to São Bartolomeu de Messines (Silves), Albufeira and Tavira, always in coordination with the respective Health Centers.
«This is a first step in the Algarve, but also in many other regions», resulting from the «interconnection between primary health care and hospital health care», added Ana Gomes.
Paulo Morgado, president of the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve, for his part, began by pointing out that «the main challenge we have in the National Health Service is to give people access. There is a way to go and it is being done in the Health Centers, in the hospitals, but we also want to bet on these decentralized consultations».
In the field of Mental Health, for example, this has been happening for some time, with good results, so the person in charge augurs the best for this CHUA + Proximity Project.
And he added that it will not only be the users who will have benefits, the health professionals themselves will also have them. This is because the project, by promoting displacement, by deep Algarve, from the hospitals' pediatric team, will also “put our professionals to talk to each other. From this interaction, only good things can result».
«Today I am particularly happy», guaranteed, for his part, José Gonçalves, mayor of Aljezur. “I'm happy when you make things happen for the good of people. That is our main mission, as mayors”.
Ensuring that this new project, which started yesterday, at regional level, in Aljezur, «will make all the difference», José Gonçalves recalled that «health has been, over the years, a concern of the mayors of this county».
Among the investments made by the municipality, he recalled the physiotherapy room that the Council installed in the Health Centre, as well as the dentist's office, the purchase of the Mobile Health Unit, the guarantee of accommodation for the new family health doctor who began to working in the county at the beginning of the year, or even the «proximity and effort during these two years of the pandemic».
Yesterday, at the start of the new project, the Municipality of Aljezur gave another precious help: it delivered a brand new electric vehicle to CHUA, to transport the team (doctor and nurse) that will come to the county every week. The CHUA president herself considered this help "fundamental", since the Hospital Center, by itself, would not have vehicles available for travel.
“Proximity is essential: bringing specialties to Aljezur is a comfort for people who will not have to travel, wasting an entire day, with the difficulty of public transport that we have”, added the mayor.
This protocol between the three entities – CHUA, ARS and Câmara de Aljezur – proves, in the opinion of Mayor José Gonçalves, that «when there is a will, with these partnerships you can get things done».
«Everything is not perfect» in Health, he admitted, but «this is a stimulus for a step that we have not yet taken, but that we are studying, the transfer of skills in the health area», concluded the mayor of Aljezur.
Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação