Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo DSEI prepares Prevention Plan for COVID-19 for the Maxakali indigenous people
The Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo Indigenous Special Health District (DSEI), in partnership with the University of Vale do Rio Doce (Univale) and with the support of the Maxakali indigenous community, has located the patients who are most at risk of contagion from Coronavirus. In this regard, the technicians used a survey made by the sanitation area in each village which made it possible to find the location of each house, the number of indigenous people living there, and the risks of contracting Coronavirus. The study is part of the actions foreseen in the Contingency Plan for the novel Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) in Maxakali territory prepared by the MG-ES DSEI.
The objective of the study is to identify and monitor the families classified as the most vulnerable to the COVID-19, according to the specificities of its people. The Maxakali constitute the second largest indigenous group in Minas Gerais and are currently the ethnic group most likely to be affected by the coronavirus within the MG-ES DSEI. The mapping was made using the DSEI sketches built by the sanitation area and the Indigenous Health Care Information System (SIASI) reports with the demographic and morbidity characteristics of the Maxakali families, by residence. In the next step, the DSEI team will meet local teams to guide and organize actions in the villages, using the mapping as a key piece in monitoring Severe Acute Respiratory and Flu Syndromes and suspected cases for COVID-19.
The strategy put into practice in this study enabled the creation of a database of the Maxakali people, making it possible to know the territory by mapping the demographic characteristics and morbidities of Maxakali families, house by house.
The Maxakali people
Originating from areas of the Atlantic Forest, the Maxakali are composed of the Makoni, Monoxo, Kapoxo, Malali, Maxakali, Cumanaxo and Panhame peoples. These groups occupied six valleys located in the northeast of Minas Gerais, southern Bahia and northern Espirito Santo. Currently, they live in the surrounding areas of four municipalities in the extreme northeast of Minas Gerais, on the border with the State of Bahia.
In October 2019, the Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health (SESAI) of the Ministry of Health registered the Maxakali families, from the communities of the Pradinho and Agua Boa Type I Base of the municipalities of Bertopolis and Santa Helena de Minas, supplying the Local Indigenous Health Care Information Systems (SIASI_Local) and Local Sanitation System (SISAB_Local). This work was configured as a regular activity of the Multidisciplinary Teams of Indigenous Health (EMSI) and Basic Sanitation. In all, 1,873 indigenous people from these two communities, who represent 78.2% of the Maxakali indigenous population, were registered.