Oswaldo Cruz Foundation
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The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Portuguese Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, also known as FIOCRUZ) is a scientific institution for research and development in biomedical sciences located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, it is considered one of the world's main public health research institutions. It was founded by Dr. Oswaldo Cruz, a noted physician and epidemiologist.
The Federal Serum Therapy Institute was established with the objective of developing serum and vaccines against the bubonic plague. The institute’s activities, however, changed from simple production into research and experimental medicine, especially after Oswaldo Cruz assumed its leadership in 1902. From there on, the institute became the base for memorable sanitation campaigns in an age of outbreaks and epidemics of the bubonic plague, yellow fever, and smallpox. The Institute, however, was not confined to Rio de Janeiro and, on the contrary, collaborated in the occupation of the country’s interior through scientific expeditions, aiding in the development of the country.
When Oswaldo Cruz died, in 1917, the Institute, which by then already bore his name, was nationally consolidated through important scientific achievements, such as Carlos Chagas’ description of the complete cycle of the American trypanosomiasis including the clinical pattern of the disease. On 16 January 2007, the Institute announced that it had developed a gel from algae which it is hoped will reduce HIV transmission to women.
Today the institution has a broad range of responsibilities related to the health and wellbeing of the Brazilian population. This includes hospital and ambulatory care; health-related research; development of vaccines, drugs, reagents, and diagnostic kits; training of public health and health workers; and providing information and communications related to health, science, and technology. The Fiocruz workforce members are over 7,500. Fiocruz includes several fixed facilities in Rio de Janeiro and other locations; however, it contributes to improving health throughout the country, through its support to the Sistema Único de Saúde (Unified Health System, the Brazilian public health system), its proposals on public health policy-making, its research activities, its scientific expeditions, and the reach of its health services and products.
Fiocruz is one of the founding members of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes, a membership organization of national public health institutes.
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