The demand for care for children has grown exponentially in recent weeks in health units in Campo Grande. An average of 5,000 pediatric consultations are carried out in UPAs and CRSs in the Capital, which cannot pass the barrier of 16% of vaccine coverage against covid-19 or influenza. In addition to weather and sudden changes in temperature, low vaccination adherence and the reappearance of common viruses may be linked to this increase, experts say.
Data provided by Sesau (Municipal Health Department) show a 347% increase in the number of pediatric visits, which went from 1,117 daily to 5,000 in a period of four weeks. For the infectologist and researcher at Fiocruz (Fundação Osvaldo Cruz), Júlio Croda, low adherence to childhood vaccination against covid-19 and influenza may be linked to this increase.
Croda explains that there are four viruses responsible for the increase in demand for pediatric care: Respiratory Syncycical, Influenza, Rhinovirus and Covid-19. Among them, two have immunizers available in the public health network. However, respiratory syncycal and rhinovirus still do not have manufactured immunizers.
According to Sesau, 9,153 children aged between 6 months and under 5 years received the vaccine against influenza in Campo Grande. However, the estimated public able to receive the vaccine is 57,428, generating an adherence of only 15.94%. Data from the Mais Panel show a similar scenario in the immunization against covid-19: only 12,778 children, of the 90,000 eligible, were vaccinated with both doses, only 14.35% of vaccine coverage.
The infectious disease specialist Júlio Croda comments that greater vaccination coverage in the municipality could reduce the numbers presented by the secretary, but still would not be able to solve the overcrowding in the posts. “If you have a vaccine for influenza and covid, being the second and fourth cause of hospitalizations, it is possible to reduce this demand. However, it will not solve the overcrowding, because we have the other viruses still without a vaccine,” he commented.
For the specialist, a plausible and easy-to-implement measure would be the use of masks in school units, preventing the spread of viruses among students without vaccination coverage. “Many municipalities have resumed the use of masks in schools”, he concluded.
In a note, Sesau says it is not possible to exclusively attribute the low adherence of children to vaccination as the cause of the increase in demand. “There are several factors that contribute to both, such as their exposure to other viruses and also the sudden fluctuation in temperature that ends up triggering respiratory problems and other pathologies because of the immunity being compromised”.
Private network also suffers from crowding
The problem of high demand for pediatric care also affects hospitals and private clinics in Campo Grande. As reported in Mediamax newspaper private hospital patients claim to have waited more than five hours for care. “I arrived at 6:30 pm and left at 10 pm medicated and with tests done. There was a lady who arrived at 1 pm and left with me”, commented a patient who opted for anonymity.
“I thought my case was serious, but it took a while to be attended to. My husband complained and they answered me about 20 minutes later. I went into despair. It was very full, most of them had the flu”, said another patient who also preferred not to identify herself.
In a note, Cassems reported that, in recent months, there has been an increase in patients with flu symptoms in the unit. This increase has been observed since March. For this reason, the waiting time for service may be a little longer.
“The Cassems Hospital in Campo Grande strictly follows the Manchester Protocol, in which patients are treated according to the severity of each case. The health plan also provides assistance in the Outpatient Centers of its Own Network. Caixa dos Servers has been working, through administrative and assistance measures, to remedy this demand. The health plan relies on the understanding of the beneficiaries”.
Unimed also confirmed that the significant increase in attendance at the Adult and Pediatric Emergency Department at Unimed Campo Grande Hospital was impacted by cases related to respiratory diseases and dengue.