SESAI´s Secretary participates in UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
The Special Secretary of Indigenous Health of the Ministry of Health, Robson Santos da Silva, participated by videoconference in the 20th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, an event of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (UN), on the morning of Wednesday, April 21. The Forum takes place from April 19 to 30, virtually, with the participation of several countries.
This year´s theme is "Peace, justice and strong institutions: the role of indigenous peoples in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 16. Participants review progress on issues such as human rights, climate change, representation, and governance for indigenous peoples based on reports. The Forum will assist in the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Brazil´s exposure contributed to the discussion about issues related to the confrontation of COVID-19 in indigenous areas. The secretary highlighted, in his speech, that the actions to confront COVID-19 began to be adopted in January 2020, by the Ministry of Health/Federal Government, even before the World Health Organization (WHO) decreed the pandemic, published in March of the same year. The Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health (SESAI), of the Ministry of Health, implemented contingency plans; training for managers and collaborators; the creation of Crisis Committees with the participation of indigenous people; the acquisition of tests, materials, and supplies for all 34 Special Indigenous Sanitary Districts (DSEI); the implementation of specific reference centers for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; and the hiring of more indigenous health professionals.
The Brazilian Government prioritized indigenous people in the first stage of the National Plan for the Operationalization of Vaccination against COVID-19. The Ministry of Health sent, at once, more than 907,000 doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 to immunize, with two doses, a population of 410,000 indigenous people aged 18 or older who are in the Indigenous Health Care Subsystem (SASISUS) and specificities of ADPF 709. In total, more than 75% of this indigenous population has already received the first dose and 58% the second dose.
"Brazil has been acting with full respect to the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the recommendations of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to reduce the impacts of the pandemic among indigenous populations," said Robson Santos da Silva. He also pointed out that the Brazilian legislation establishes that the Federal Government must provide health services for the peoples living in indigenous lands and territories. The responsibility for the indigenous population living in urban or rural areas lies with the states and municipalities according to the tripartite management of the Unified Health System (SUS).