Classics of the first ten years



Carlos Augusto Monteiro; Rita de Cássia Barradas Barata

Scientific Editors



The fortieth anniversary of uninterrupted publication of the Revista de Saúde Pública has led us to republish some articles originally published during the first ten years of the Revista. These are papers that, because of their themes or approaches, are capable of reflecting the scientific production of that time. In so doing, our thought was to pay homage, through the authors of the republished articles, to all the authors of more than two thousand articles that the Revista has published over its first 40 years of existence. It also seemed to us that this would be an excellent opportunity to disseminate articles and authors that had an impact at their time, among the new generations of sanitarians and health professionals.

To select the papers that have been republished in the six issues of volume 40 of the Revista de Saúde Pública, we sought to represent the diversity of themes and subjects that characterizes public health and to give priority to articles of historical interest or that might encompass important lessons for today. With these criteria in mind, and not without great difficulty, given the wealth of material that we were working on, we arrived at the 12 articles that have actually been republished.

With the aim of making this initiative more interesting for our readers, we invited renowned Brazilian researchers who have a tradition of collaboration with the Revista de Saúde Pública to reread the papers and comment on them. We impressed on these researchers that they should, in particular, give consideration to the contribution that these articles brought to the state of knowledge at the time when they were produced, the impact that they had on public health practices in our environment, and the pertinence of their analyses, findings and conclusions for today. We started the series with "História da saúde pública no Estado de São Paulo" (History of public health in the State of São Paulo), by Rodolfo Mascarenhas, with commentaries by Everardo Duarte Nunes and Luiz Antônio Teixeira. This article portrays the history of public health in this State from 1891 to 1970, and highlights the figures of Emílio Ribas and Geraldo de Paula Souza. Also in the first issue of volume 40, we republished "Situação da rede pública de assistência médico-sanitária na área metropolitana da Grande São Paulo" (Situation of the public medical care at the Great São Paulo, Metropolitan area), by João Yunes and Rosa Bromberg, with commentaries by Gastão Wagner Campos and Paulo Elias. This second article describes, with a wealth of details, the condition of the care network in the metropolitan area in 1970. Both articles, according to these commentators, constitute essential reference points for scholars in the fields of planning and administration.

For the second issue of this year, we selected two epidemiological papers that were dedicated to the construction of epidemiometric models: one applied to tuberculosis dissemination and the other to the kinetics of Chagas disease. The historical importance of "Sobre o modelo catalítico reversível aplicado ao estudo da cinética epidemiológica da infecção chagásica" (A study on the epidemiologic kinetics of the human infection by Trypanosoma cruzi through the application of the "reversible catalytic model), by Guilherme Rodrigues da Silva, and "Modelos Epidemiométricos em tuberculose – definição de 'estados' e risco de infecção" (Epidemiometric models in tuberculosis – definition of 'states' and risk of infection), by Antonio Ruffino-Netto, lies in the reports of modeling that was done at a time when the use of personal computers had not become widespread yet and when the highest technology that could be had was ordinary calculators. For these articles, commentaries were provided by Cláudio Struchiner for the first one and Cláudia Codeço and Guilherme Werneck, for the second one.

In the third issue, we republished two contributions on topics directly related to health policy. The first of these, which was originally published in the form of an editorial, gave analysis by teaching staff of the Faculdade de Saúde Pública of Universidade de São Paulo on the National Health Plan that was proposed by the then Minister Leonel Miranda. The article was commented by Jairnilson Paim and Célia Almeida. The second contribution, "Abreugrafia sistemática em massa: inviabilidade econômica e eventuais perigos da exposição a radiações" (Systematic mass roentgenphotography: economical unviability and eventual danger regarding exposure to radiation), by Febus Gikovate and Diogo Pupo Nogueira, questioned the indiscriminate use of abreugraphy and drew attention to the need for scientific evidence on which to base public health practices. The commentaries on these historical contributions were provided by and Mauricio Barreto and Antônio Ruffino-Netto.

In the fourth issue, we considered the field of health economics with the paper "Financiamento dos serviços de saúde pública" (Funding for public health services), by Rodolfo Mascarenhas, and an analysis of the epidemiological situation of a disease that was very important during the 1960s and 1970s, through the paper "Estado atual do problema da poliomielite no município de São Paulo" (Current state of the poliomyelitis problem in São Paulo municipality), by Victório Barbosa. The topical nature of the article by Mascarenhas, which was written in 1967, is highlighted in the commentaries by Sérgio Piola and Sílvia Porto. On the other hand, the article by Victorio Barbosa, which was originally published in 1968, can be regarded as a precursor of the strategy of national vaccination days, as pointed out well in the commentaries by José Cássio de Moraes and José da Silva Guedes.

The fifth issue highlighted "Plano de amostragem utilizado no estudo de reprodução humana no distrito de São Paulo" (Sampling plan utilized in studying human reproduction in the São Paulo district), by Eunice Pinho de Castro Silva and with commentaries by Maria Cecília Alves and Mauricio Vasconcellos, showing the enormous difficulties in drawing up sampling plans for home surveys at a time when there was no access to information on census tracts. The second article of the fifth issue was on initiatives in the teaching of public health, through the paper "Curso de Saúde Pública em um semestre" (One-semester course in Public Health), by José Maria Pacheco de Souza et al, relating to the formulation and implementation of the so-called "short course" in public health. This course, which was promoted by the great sanitarian Walter Leser, made it possible for the State of São Paulo Department of Health to have sanitarians heading all its health centers. The commentaries for this article were provided by Regina Marsiglia and Joana Azevedo.

Finally, in this sixth and final issue of volume 40, which we are now presenting to readers, we republish the paper "Quantification of the Nelson de Moraes Indicator", by José and Marilda da Silva Guedes, which highlighted the formulation of a new health indicator. The commentary for this article was provided by Ruy Laurenti, and shows that this indicator has historical value as one of the only Brazilian contributions towards the "classical indicators" of the World Health Organization, and was at that time innovative. The second paper in this issue is "Biogeografia, origem e distribuição da domiciliação de triatomídeos no Brasil" (Biogeography, origin and distribution of the domiciliation of triatomines in Brazil), by Oswaldo Paulo Forattini. In the words of Luiz Jacintho da Silva, one of the commentators on this article, this was one of the high points in the body of work produced by this researcher, who dedicated his whole life to studying the vectors of the principal endemic diseases in Brazil. According to Luiz Jacintho, it is at the same time a brilliant contribution towards studying the natural history of diseases and a fascinating exercise in the application of entomological and ecological knowledge. This article also has a commentary by José da Rocha Carvalheiro.

To conclude, we would like to thank all the researchers for their kind collaboration, in promptly agreeing to provide commentaries on the articles that we selected and doing so with high quality writing within a short space of time.


November 8th 2006

Faculdade de Saúde Pública da Universidade de São Paulo São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: revsp@org.usp.br