Nothing is random
The coronavirus pandemic has represented a great challenge for health professionals, including Lieska Rodriguez, Director General of Diagnostics at the National Institute of Hygiene, and D’Angelo, who work hand in hand in a multitudinous and multidisciplinary team, as they describe it. For them, the pandemic has meant many hours of extra work, but what seems to be of greater importance to Rodriguez has been not to “neglect or undermine” any of the other diagnoses, above all that of poliomyelitis. For her, it is a fact that the Venezuelan population prioritizes vaccination, ensures that the inhabitants always seek to immunize themselves against the risks, and fully trusts in the national vaccination record, which offers vaccines starting from birth.
And the main challenge imposed by the pandemic for Pierina D’Angelo, demonstrates once again her commitment. For her it has been “to transmit confidence to the country” that the team she works with day by day guarantees that any microbiological agent that might affect them is detected. According to Pierina, the fact that the 30th anniversary of the elimination of wild polio in the Americas coincides with a pandemic is not a matter of chance, but a sign of the success of vaccination protocols. “Through vaccination we can minimize the risk of transmission, of contagion” she says, while inviting people to get themselves immunized, since according to her, the message is clear and unequivocal: “You have to get vaccinated against the coronavirus with the vaccine that is available.” That we can “celebrate” in her words, the 30 years without cases of wild poliovirus in the region, also represents the duty to maintain and promote vaccination.
Seeing the small but impressive museum inside the Institute of Hygiene. D’Angelo feels a firm responsibility to continue in the fight for the eradication of poliomyelitis and does not hide her emotion: “It’s a struggle that began very sadly, but I’m sure that it will end happily with global eradication.”