For Amazon indigenous facing COVID-19, distance to ICU beds poses dire threat

For Amazon indigenous facing COVID-19, distance to ICU beds poses dire threat

COVID-19 in the Amazon COVID-19 represents a particularly insidious threat for remote villages in the Amazon, where the nearest ICU bed is, on average, 315 kilometers (nearly 200 miles) away. The distance for some can be more than three times greater, and even then most Amazonian municipalities lack pulmonary ventilators. In these regions, keeping entire villages socially distant from outsiders is essential, but the encroachment of illegal loggers, miners and land grabbers, as well as travelers to and from the cities, poses a looming threat. As of May 18, 537 COVID-19 cases and 102 deaths have been reported by 38 indigenous groups in Brazil. The nonprofit InfoAmazonia has generated a series of graphics illustrating the distances from villages to ICUs and ventilators using data from the National Registry of Health Facilities of the Brazilian Health Ministry and the location of Amazonian villages available in the SisAldeia registry run by Funai, the federal agency responsible for indigenous affairs. InfoAmazonia says this is a collaborative mapping project and is not inclusive of all Amazonian villages. Over half (58.9%) of the 3,141 villages analyzed are located more than 200 km (120 mi) from an ICU bed, and 10% of these villages are between 700 and 1,079 km (435-670 mi) away. Distance from villages to ICU beds Indigenous health care in Brazil is provided at base centers within Special Indigenous Health Districts (known as DSEIs) but the system only covers low-complexity cases, so ventilators or ICU beds must be shared with the general population, served by…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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