Monday, January 30, 2023
HomeHealthcareOpinion - Marcia Castro: An Oscar for the SUS

Opinion – Marcia Castro: An Oscar for the SUS


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“When there is air”, a documentary directed by sisters Helena Petta and Ana Petta, portrays the work of SUS health professionals during the Covid-19 pandemic. The documentary won the 27th International Documentary Festival, the most important in Latin America, and is on the Oscar candidate list.

From the list of candidates, only five will be nominated for the Oscar. Selection is tough, competitive, and the Petta sisters face two additional challenges.

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First, there seems to be fatigue on the subject, even though the pandemic is not over. However, one cannot remain silent, bury the past. It is necessary to show this documentary to the world. The pandemic is a deep scar in recent human history, and even if it is not purging as it once was, covering it up will only make the situation worse.

In Brazil, for example, new variants are circulating, cases have risen again, but the search for vaccines is moving slowly, and masks have been left aside. Bad combination! As much as it has already been said, it is worth remembering that even those who had Covid-19 without complications can develop sequelae. Therefore, relaxing and not bothering if you have Covid-19 with mild symptoms is not, and never will be, a good option.

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Second, there is the intricate and expensive articulation that is usually done to give visibility to Oscar-nominated films and documentaries. Exhibitions, receptions, dinners, etc. The Petta sisters made this documentary with a team and a budget that is nothing like that of the big productions and with limited resources for promotion. What a lack of resources makes up for courage, dedication, sensitivity and commitment to the SUS. After all, “you have to have strength, you have to have race, you have to have will, always”.

Some screenings were done in New York, Boston and Los Angeles. In Brazil, the documentary will be shown in early 2023. Little by little, the hashtag #SUSnoOscar is spreading. But it’s hard to know how members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decide what to watch.

An eventual Oscar nomination for “When There’s No Air” might be considered by the international press as an underdog. I would call it fair recognition!

Recognition of the work of family doctors, community health agents and other professionals who work in hospitals, communities, prisons and basic health units. Routine work, ignored by many who do not, in fact, know the SUS.

A job that, during the pandemic, required physical and mental energy that these professionals never imagined having. A work portrayed in the documentary in a sensitive and human way, as primary care should be.

Recognition of one of the greatest social achievements of our society, the SUS, a health system that, despite everything that has happened in recent years, has saved thousands of lives during the pandemic. The SUS was the resistance against evil. He’s hurt, but he’s alive!

Recognition of the strength of two women who ventured to the corners of Brazil, at the height of the pandemic, because they understood the social and historical importance of documenting the resilience of these health professionals and the SUS.

An eventual Oscar nomination for “When the Air Is Missing” would amplify the importance of humanized and community work in health care.

Indicated or not, “When Lacking Air”, in addition to a priceless historical record, is a tribute to the nearly 700,000 victims of Covid-19, who lost their lives because of chloroquine, the mismanagement that came from above and the lack of vaccine. For all of this, #SUSnoOscar.

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