• A lighthouse in the storm

    DATE: 10/01/2020

    Published by: OEC

    Dr. Denize Lopes, OECO’s occupational physician. 2020, will undoubtedly remain in the memory of those who lived it and will certainly be remembered in history books as the year of the first great pandemic of the 21st century. It is a real storm, a situation that requires guidance, planning and persistence to be overcome. And it is precisely at times like these that leaderships flourish to lead us to better paths. We are talking about Dr. Denize Lopes, occupational physician for 24 years, of which 16 dedicated to OEC, responsible for the guidelines that have helped the company and its Members to overcome this unusual challenge. Learn a little more about her work and how she has been facing this moment.


    After the first news about the virus spreading from China, what went through your mind? Did you imagine the virus would arrive in Brazil with such intensity?

    Yes, I imagined that it would reach Brazil, mainly because we had the carnival festivities in February, with a huge flow of foreigners during this period and no sanitary measures had been implemented until that moment by the responsible agencies. Brazil is a continental country, with an enormous diversity between regions, without an alignment of sanitary standards between federal, state and municipal governments and with a deficient public health care system. It was clear to me that we would suffer a very hard blow with a pandemic of this proportion.


    How did you feel when the pandemic was declared due the new Coronavirus here in Brazil?

    I felt fear, insecurity and the desire to learn more about this enemy in order to “surgically” start the fight. It was a situation in which we had no margin for error.


    What can the medical field do at a time like this? Is there any procedure or action to be taken even before the first guidelines are issued?

    No one was prepared. Even the best structured hospitals in São Paulo made mistakes and had to redo protocols that were already used and efficient before the arrival of the Coronavirus. The occupational health area of OEC had to learn about infectology, epidemiology, pneumology and public health. We had to organize protocols, establish joint actions, even though we still know so little about this new virus. The first protocols issued were very simple, but with a better knowledge of the virus, We organized our actions in a more structured way.


    What has the OEC medical area done to protect its Members? What actions have been implemented?

    The main work to be done was to guide the company on preventive measures in the work environment. Execute clinical management measures. In this sense, we established a communication flow with the purpose of disclosing information about the Coronavirus to our member, and, above all, the actions of individual and collective protection  that would be applied, emphasizing respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene and selective social distancing. This communication must continue to take place and be disclosed using various channels, mainly the Daily Safety Training sessions.

    In addition, we adopted measures in various environments such as intensifying the sanitization of workplaces, providing suitable places for hand washing and alcohol gel dispensers. We established spacing standards in cafeterias, locker rooms, work rooms, company buses. We established the use of natural ventilation or exhausts, avoiding the use of air conditioning, in addition to the Hygienization of eventual equipment with filters. We proposed alternative work schedules, staff rotation and home office, meetings via videoconference and the cancellation of all trips, while social isolation lasts. Finally, we advised on the adequate supply of protective face masks. Not to mention the Clinical and Epidemiological management actions with the establishment of symptomatic screening procedures and daily temperature assessments, development and implementation of specific protocols for Coronavirus, with sanitary isolation measures, treatment of symptoms, diagnosis through rapid tests, evaluation on return to work, among other actions.


    At OEC, how do you evaluate the outcome of the actions?

    I think it is too early to have a more detailed assessment of this confrontation. At this time I believe that our actions have been appropriate and responsible for every phase we have faced so far. The challenge is enormous, because we have lives involved and we need to be prudent with every step taken.


    Have you ever experienced a similar situation in your professional journey?

    I have never seen anything like this before and I hope I never see it again.


    How did you decide to become a doctor, and, specifically,  an occupational physician?

    Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be a doctor, I just do not remember exactly from when. I am a gastroenterologist and an occupational physician. My professional life has been basically spent assisting clients at my doctor’s practice until Odebrecht invited me to work full time, Dedicated, and I accepted the invitation. I have been here now for 16 years.


    How do you imagine the work environment will be like from now on? Are many things going to change, not just in companies, but in life in general?

    I hope so, because we cannot forget these very difficult moments we are undergoing. We need to learn from them. We need to understand that we cannot neglect our health, because chronic diseases and wrong habits place us in a very fragile position. How many people died because they were hypertensive and could not react to the inflammatory process that the virus causes? We need to learn how to take care of each other. If I am sick, I should stay home, taking care of my health and respecting my co-worker.

    We need to fight for a public health care system that allows everyone to have access to vaccines, therapies, exams, hospital treatment, ICU, a respirator and life. We need to make a habit of certain simple acts: wash your hands, leave your shoes outside, practice breathing etiquette, stay healthy.


    What advice can you give to Members at this time?

    All this will pass. Soon we will have a vaccine and new medicines are already being used with much better results than we had at the beginning of the pandemic. Take care of yourself. Take care of the others. Be responsible. Your attitude saves lives: yours, mine, everyone’s.


    No comments

    Want to learn more
    about the subject?

    Click here and leave you suggestion
    for the next post

    Related news


    Libro en formato digital que presenta una colección de artículos desarrollados en el programa OEC IN sobre tecnologías, retos...

    April 17, 2024

    OEC – Engineering and Construction was voted one of the most innovative engineering companies of 2024 in the 5th edition...

    April 15, 2024

    We are pleased to inform you that the concessionaires H2Olmos and Trasvase Olmos have appointed Fernando Cilloniz Benavides and...

    March 27, 2024

    On Wednesday (27), the Brazilian Navy will launch the third conventional diesel-electric submarine built under the Submarine Development Program...

    March 27, 2024