Indigenous Peoples Improvise a COVID-19 Hospital in Manaus


This Brazilian facility operates at a church and with donations of oxygen cylinders and other medical supplies.

Health volunteers at the Support Unit, Parque das Tribos, Manaus, Brazil, Jan. 22, 2021.Health volunteers at the Support Unit, Parque das Tribos, Manaus, Brazil, Jan. 22, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @GreenpeaceBR

13 February 2021 (teleSUR)* — In response to the inefficiency of the Brazilian authorities, the residents of the Manaus neighborhood “Tribes Park” (Parque das Tribos) set up their “Support Unit” (SU), a rudimentary field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients.

Despite the high number of COVID-19 cases, they are not being treated directly by the Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health (SESAI) because they reside in an urban area.

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“We have been fighting for the lives of Indigenous people living in cities since last year,” said the SU manager Vanda Ortega, a nurse who is part of a group of volunteer health workers.

So far this year, 32 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the Tribes Park, which shelters some 700 families from diverse Indigenous ethnic groups.

The National Research Institute of the Amazon conducted an epidemiological study according to which at least 65 percent of the inhabitants of this neighborhood have already contracted COVID-19. Among those who have died from this disease is Chief Messias Kokama.

The Tribes Park field hospital, which does not have the support of the Manaus Mayor’s Office or the Amazonas State Government, operates at a church and with donations of oxygen cylinders and other medical supplies.

Instead of beds, patients rest in hammocks and are treated with Indigenous traditional medicine and some drugs to fight the coronavirus.

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