Article category: Short Articles Related to the Standing Committee on Professional Exchange (SCOPE)
Name: Bruna Rocha Lopes
University: Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF)
E-mail: [email protected]
SCOPE/SCORE in times of COVID 19
In January 2020, it was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) the pandemic scenario of COVID 19¹, which has been impacting not only the biomedical and epidemiological order of the world, but also its social, economic and cultural juncture. Closing the borders was one of the actions taken by several countries to contain the transmission of the disease². In addition to it, another measure that stands out is the social isolation, which had implications both at school and in interpersonal relationships between individuals. Thus, under these circumstances, it is undeniable the impact of the pandemic on the Standing Committee on Professional Exchange (SCOPE) and the Standing Committee on Research Exchange (SCORE) programs of 2020/2021 promoted by the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA).
As a medical student approved for the SCOPE internship in Chile at the beginning of 2021, I can state that the accomplishment of the long awaited exchange is no longer a certainty. The social isolation culminated in the cancellation of the traditional classes at the Universities, which for medical colleges, essentially practical, results in the cessation of the academic calendar, with no projection of going back. Consequently, aiming for the regularization of the academic calendar, the use of the vacations in December, January and February is foreseen as the replacement of these lessons, which would result in the concomitance of the exchange period with the University’s classes. Furthermore, the social repercussions of the pandemic include the compromise of interactions between individuals, especially among those from other countries, which possibly would trigger a greater isolation of the outgoings in educational institutions.
There are also effects on the safety of the family that will receive the student, given their circulation in hospital areas. Another point that should be raised is related to the fear of the outgoings in living in a country that not only experiences a different pandemic scenario from the student’s own country, but also has a completely different health system. Thus, questions related to how the medical care of the foreign student would be if they catch the disease are also considered.
The context of uncertainties experienced by the world requires the quest for new alternatives to face these impacts. The possibility of postponing the exchanges or the chance to apply for the next edition without charging again the enrollment fee, for example, have to be considered for the best benefit of both students and institutions that will have them. The cultural and intellectual exchange promoted by the program are essential for the academic growth of the selected medical students, and this opportunity should be widely harnessed.
- Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Brazil. “Fact sheet – COVID 19 (disease caused by the new coronavirus).” Last modified June 23, 2020. https://www.paho.org/bra/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6101:covid19&Itemid=875
- Chinazzi, M. et al (2020). The effect of travel restrictions on the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Science Magazine, pp. 395-400.