Telehealth takes specialized exams and consultations to the indigenous people in the Base Poles
The Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health (SESAI) of the Ministry of Health provides basic health care to almost six thousand villages from north to south of Brazil. When there is a need for specialized care, such as exams or consultations with specialist doctors, the 34 Special Indigenous Sanitary Districts (DSEI) need to send patients to the nearest cities. Now the Districts will have equipment for remote consultation through Telehealth, a Digital Health strategy of the Ministry of Health.
Examinations and consultations with cardiologists, ophthalmologists, dermatologists and pulmonologists will be carried out at the Base Poles in the indigenous area, reducing the displacement of patients for routine examinations or consultations in the cities. This important strategy guarantees the permanence of indigenous people in the villages during the pandemic caused by COVID-19 and speeds up the attendance time. Urgent and emergency cases will continue to be removed by the DSEI to the nearest hospital network of the Unified Health System (SUS).
Telehealth uses broadband internet from the Connecting Brazil Program, of the Ministry of Communications, which is being implemented in 330 internet points, via Electronic Government - Citizen Service Support (GESAC), in the Special Indigenous Sanitary Districts. Many Base Poles and Basic Indigenous Health Units (UBSI) in the Amazon region are in indigenous areas of difficult access where climate and logistics make it difficult for the teams and indigenous people to travel. “ Click here for more information”.
More than 755,000 indigenous people will benefit from distance medicine throughout the country. "This equipment added to the Telebras Internet points will provide the overcoming of geographical barriers, the interiorization of health and the fight against COVID-19. And they will certainly bring more quality of life to the indigenous people in their routine exams without having to leave their villages", says the Special Secretary of Indigenous Health, Robson Santos da Silva.
SESAI´s Mobile Health Team and the EMSI of the Districts, including the Rapid Response Teams, will be trained to use the equipment. "Telehealth reduces the time of care, the costs of travel of patients and health professionals, and enables care with specialists in areas of difficult access," explains SESAI´s advisor, Carlos Colares.
The equipment will be donated to SESAI by the mining company Vale and should arrive by July in the 34 districts. The kits will contain: protection case, notebook, high resolution webcam, portable paramedic monitor, and cardiology, pneumology, ophthalmology, and dermatology telequipment.
All will have an extended two-year warranty on top of the standard one. Examinations will be performed on patients by local teams and they will receive medical diagnosis from specialists at a distance.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Vale has supported actions that benefit indigenous peoples and other traditional communities in the areas where it operates in Pará, Maranhão, Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro. "This partnership with SESAI gives us great satisfaction. The indigenous issue is one of the pillars of our strategic planning, which focuses on ethno-development, valuing the preservation of cultural memory, strengthening the role of these populations and sustainable programs like this one," says Hugo Barreto, director of Sustainability and Voluntary Social Investment at Vale.