Compare health aspects of servers before, during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the main objective of the new research developed by the Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil). At the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), about 500 civil servants have already answered the research questionnaire. The goal is to reach more than 1,700 participants who have participated in the study since 2008.

“ELSA-COVID will assess the total impact of the pandemic on the health of the study participants. Through this research, we will verify the load of Covid-19 and the measures used to control it, so that policy makers can have an informed debate about the pros and cons of public policies to control the pandemic ”, explains Sheila Alvim, professor at Institute of Collective Health (ISC / UFBA) and local coordinator of ELSA-Brasil.

In this first phase of the study, civil servants remotely answer a questionnaire about the behavior adopted since the beginning of the pandemic, such as eating habits, physical activity practices, in addition to pointing out the levels of exposure to Covid-19. “This moment in the research is very important because we are living in a pandemic with serious implications for the health of the population”, highlights the coordinator.

ELSA-COVID also intends to assess the impact of the social distance measures adopted and how the pandemic can affect the occurrence and prognosis of chronic non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and mental disorders.

The team responsible for collecting and processing information is composed of professors and researchers from different areas such as nursing, physiotherapy, medicine, physical education, nutrition and statistics, in addition to graduate students, undergraduate students and research fellows.

The ELSA-Brasil study is coordinated in Bahia by the Collective Health Institute of UFBA and developed simultaneously at UFMG, UFES, UFRGS, USP and Fiocruz-RJ. Institution officials are currently being contacted to provide information about their health during the pandemic. The objective is to compare the data obtained in this and other stages carried out in previous years through the six research centers.

For professor Sheila Alvim, with a cohort of more than 14 thousand active participants, ELSA-Brasil is the ideal scenario for this type of assessment. “Depression, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other chronic diseases and their risk and management factors have been well characterized since 2008 through visits to research centers and annual monitoring to evaluate clinical outcomes”, he points out.

Since the study began, two waves of interviews and exams (2012-2014, 2017-2019) have been carried out. The fourth wave with face-to-face participation of the research participants in the research centers is being planned to occur in 2021, once the distance measures are definitively revoked.

In total, about 310 scientific articles have already been published based on the investigations of ELSA-Brasil and the knowledge produced has guided public policies for preventing and coping with the investigated chronic diseases. “The idea is that the research can contribute to improving the management of chronic diseases and their risk factors and, mainly, the preservation of health in this and future epidemics”, concludes the coordinator.

The current research is aimed at servers already monitored by the study, who are being contacted directly by the ELSA-Brasil team. Any doubts can also be clarified by e-mail elsachama@ufba.br  or by calling (71) 3283-7493 / 3283-7494.