Coronavirus top official to leave Health Ministry

Wanderson Oliveira
Wanderson Oliveira. Photo: ABr

After already losing two Ministers, the Brazilian Health Ministry is set to lose another official this week. In a message to his colleagues, Health Surveillance Secretary Wanderson Oliveira announced he will leave office this Monday, newspaper O Globo reported. The epidemiologist was one of the architects of Brazil’s anti-Covid-19 strategy, being responsible for non-pharmacological policies — such as social isolation measures.

Mr. Oliveira, who was appointed by former Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta in January 2019, allegedly thought his job was at risk after his original boss left office. Last month, GloboNews reported that President Jair Bolsonaro was considering trading the secretary’s position for the support of the so-called “Big Center” parties.

The secretary, who went on vacation between May 4 and 19, was welcomed upon his return by interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello. After a conversation with the new minister, however, Mr. Oliveira asked to be released to take his original position as a nurse epidemiologist at the Armed Forces Hospital.

“Despite leaving my position as health surveillance secretary, I will continue helping Minister Pazuello in responding to the pandemic,” Mr. Oliveira said, who finished his statement with a military quote: “We are part of the same institution, the Defense Ministry, and with us: mission given, mission accomplished.”

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