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July 2010
News from the Brazilian Association of Psychiatry

Online Conference

In early June, the Brazilian Association of Psychiatry (ABP) launched a new tool to help members exchange experiences and knowledge. The online conference tool was inaugurated on June 2, prior to the scheduled regional workshops held by ABP.

Using a system produced exclusively by ABP, members can monitor video talks by experts and then write and send questions to be answered in real time.

According to ABP president João Alberto Carvalho, this is another innovative initiative by the association to reach the majority of members. “It is essential for all professionals to remain up to date. We have thus invested in ways to foster this opportunity for all our membership. Using the online conference tool, we can actually make the regional workshop reach all the professionals in that geographic area. We narrow the barriers raised by distance when we interconnect our members, spawning democratic access to knowledge and reinforcing the workshops’ regional and integrative characteristics”, stated João Alberto Carvalho.

Brazilian Congress of Psychiatry

“Science and Social Commitment” is the theme of the 28th edition of the Brazilian Congress of Psychiatry (CBP), to be held on October 27-30 in Fortaleza. The annual congress draws more than 5,000 participants, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, occupational therapists, students, and other health professionals, and aims to value psychiatrists and guarantee that scientific progress translates into practical benefits for society.

Twenty courses have already been confirmed and are listed on the program of the Congress, considered the largest event in psychiatry in Latin America and one of the specialty’s most important meetings in the world.

More than 160 special activities are scheduled, in addition to round tables, workshops, forums, debates, and symposia. Internationally renowned speakers include Adriano Vaz-Serra from Portugal and German E. Berrios and Peter Bower from the United Kingdom. Brazilian speakers will feature such names as Roberto Lent, Wagner F. Gattaz, and José Jackson Coelho Sampaio.

Online registration is available on the Congress website. Registrations submitted by September 19 will receive special discounts. See: http://www.cbpabp.org.br/

Crack

The Brazilian Association of Psychiatry (ABP) is convinced that the increase in crack consumption in Brazil and the government’s difficulty in providing treatment for addicts have become a serious public health problem. Recently, given the launching of a government plan to deal with crack, ABP stated its position on what the association considers essential for public policies to treat drug addiction.

The measures defended by ABP to contain the crack epidemic include treatments for addicts, which should be based on technical knowledge and scientific evidence emphasizing a comprehensive, balanced, and hierarchically organized network for patients.

ABP is also opposed to any action classified as “harm reduction” in the case of crack. Experience has shown that the results are negative. It is necessary to create a support structure for families affected by the problem, as well as for patients.

Finally, it is essential to invest in training. Unfortunately, Brazil still lacks a sufficient number of psychiatrists and other mental health specialists to deal with the situation adequately. The initiative should also provide for a career plan for physicians in the public healthcare system, including better work conditions and pay, in addition to improved distribution of such health professionals throughout the country.

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