Imprimir Republish


Understanding and overcoming obstacles

The knowledge gained from scientific research can improve the quality of life of individuals and social groups, but it is not always effectively or quickly adopted—more so with procedures and methods than equipment and drugs. There are many obstacles, including ignorance, habit, lack of training, absence of rules, and cultural resistance.

The problem can occur with practices implemented by a particular institution, or with healthcare protocols for millions of people, such as patients with chronic diseases. Although the issue of delayed application of new knowledge is not restricted to the health industry, this is where it can be most damaging.

A new field of study called implementation science has recently emerged with the objective of shortening the gap between knowledge being considered reliable based on solid evidence and its uptake in the real world—estimated to take an average of 17 years. The aim is to accelerate the adoption of evidence-based practices by analyzing the obstacles and testing ways to overcome them. This issue’s cover story introduces this new field, explains how implementation research is carried out, and describes some successful cases.

The year began with a sharp global increase in COVID-19 cases, with Brazil returning to the group of countries with the highest number of daily cases. Little is known about the Omicron variant, which has become the dominant strain just weeks after being identified in South Africa, but it appears to have had a greater impact among unvaccinated groups, such as children. A comparative study on the degrees of protection offered by masks is the subject of another article related to the pandemic, which next month will pass the two-year mark.

Rarely mentioned when it comes to greenhouse gases, methane is second only to carbon dioxide in terms of environmental impact. Globally, 62% of this gas is created by human activity, such as cattle farming—ruminants expel large volumes of methane as part of the digestive process. Sometimes known as swamp gas, it is also produced naturally by the decomposition of organic material in wetlands, and the Amazon biome is responsible for 8% of global output. Three quarters of the methane produced in the Amazon originates from natural processes, but a quarter is attributed to humans, largely due to agricultural advances into the rainforest. Research by INPE shows that methane emissions in the region remained stable between 2000 and 2018.

To conclude, an excerpt from an interview with Maria Victoria Benevides, in which the sociologist talks about Brazilian society: “The first consequences of ingrained racism are violence and the devaluation of labor. There is a huge gap between manual and intellectual labor. Even intellectual work that is merely bureaucratic or poorly paid is still considered of greater value than the work performed by an excellent bricklayer, carpenter, electrician, or housekeeper. Attitudes of this nature even make it difficult to understand democracy and rights in Brazil.”