Being the Director-General of Health is not easy. First of all, because of a strange sense of responsibility is always present, but it is difficult to explain. Also, because this responsibility is related to the emotion arising from the commitments made with the job exercise history.
During the great pestilence epidemic in Porto, which occurred in the summer of 1899, the government of José Luciano de Castro, under Carlos de Bragança, decided to create the Directorate General and appointed João Ferraz de Macedo as the first Director General (1838-1907), with the task of preparing Lisbon for the possible shock that It may be caused by a plague epidemic. At that time, in court, the possibility of the disease spreading in Rua da Fonte Torina, near the Douro Estuary, in the capital, was accepted. However, this problem did not occur, because the then delegate of health in Porto, Ricardo Jorge (1858-1939), encouraged a sanitary cordon to cordon off the city in order to prevent the disease from being exported to other regions of the country successfully. Control of bubonic plague has been achieved in Porto, although some sporadic cases have occurred outside the fence.
Later, immediately after the proclamation of the Republic, Doctor Antonio José de Almeida, then Minister of the Provisional Government (1)Ricardo Jorge, Director General of Health.
The reorganization of public health services, initiated earlier by Ricardo Jorge, who established the Central Higeni Institute for the development of research in bacteriology, virology and parasitology, which is absolutely indispensable in public health, continued.
In the 1918 pandemic, Ricardo Jorge was once again leading the prevention and control fronts in the face of successive waves of pulmonary influenza.
In 1927, a year before his retirement, he was also the one who instituted the mandatory medical clearance for certain diseases such as smallpox, scarlet fever, diphtheria, typhoid, exudative typhus, meningitis, plague, cholera, and yellow fever. With this action, he established the first list of diseases to be reported for the purposes of epidemiological surveillance. Extraordinary progress I was able to make.
Over the years, before and after the 1974 revolution, and always under the leadership of the Director General of Health, Portugal will come to solve many troubling problems that are threats to public health such as malaria, Asian flu, acute diarrhea, tuberculosis, cholera, AIDS, as well as many other infectious diseases.
The exercise of the position of Director-General of Health by its holders demonstrated the importance of the incompatibility of states with each legislature. Thus, there is no relationship between the appointment of the Director General and the change of government. This was the case, for example, with Ricardo Jorge who, as described above, is still prominent in the monarchy and who, as general manager, transferred the period from the First Republic to the Estado Novo. Arnaldo Sampaio also remained in the position before and after April 1974.
This has been the case historically. This should continue in the name of the independence required to perform public functions of this kind.
(1) Later he became President of the Republic between 1919-1923.
Former Director General of Health
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