The Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil) initiated a new complementary research to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the health of 15 thousand civil servants, residing in six Brazilian capitals. At the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), there are about 1,800 civil servants who have been part of the study since 2008. The proposal is to compare aspects of the participants’ health before, during and after the pandemic.

In this first phase, the servers have already started to receive an invitation letter with instructions on the questionnaires to be answered remotely. The interviews focus on the behavior of participants since the beginning of the pandemic, such as eating habits, physical activity practices, in addition to investigating the levels of exposure to Covid-19.

“The objective is to assess, in the short and long term, the relationship between measures of social distance and risk factors for chronic non-communicable diseases and mental health, as well as the impacts of Covid-19 in the socioeconomic and family spheres”, explains researcher Maria da Conceição Almeida, deputy coordinator of the study at UFBA.

The next phase of the research also includes rapid tests for Covid-19 and serological tests for other common infections in the country, such as dengue, zika and chikungunya. With this, we intend to study the relationship between the pandemic, communicable diseases with recent outbreaks in Brazil, and chronic non-communicable diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and mental disorders.

“There is scientific evidence that Covid-19, as well as the social distance measures adopted, can affect the occurrence and prognosis of these chronic non-communicable diseases”, warns the researcher. However, she points out that the testing of the new research should only be started when measures of social distance are no longer in force, in order to guarantee the safety of the participants.

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 in five other institutions: UFMG, UFES, UFRGS, USP and Fiocruz-RJ. “We have already carried out three waves of the study and, therefore, we have important previous information about the general health of the participants, which can now be compared with the situation during and after the pandemic”, concludes the researcher.

Since 2008, when the study was started, 310 scientific articles have 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 current research is directed at the servers already monitored by the study, who must await the contact of the ELSA-Brasil team. Any doubts can also be answered by e-mail elsachama@ufba.br or by calling (71) 3283-7493 / 3283-7494.