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Brazil: Reconnected by COVID after 20 years

30 Sep 20

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders first worked in the northeast of Brazil in the early 1990s, when we sent teams to the Amazon region to respond to epidemics among the indigenous community.

One of our earliest projects took place in the state of Roraima, where we trained members of the local indigenous communities as microscopists and indigenous health agents to support the response to a malaria epidemic.

A key indigenous leader who helped us with the project was Jacir de Souza, a former director of the local Roraima indigenous council and an important player in their struggle for land rights.

After more than two decades, Jacir´s life story was reconnected to MSF, when he received treatment for COVID-19 from our team at the Boa Vista field hospital.

At MSF's out-patient department in Batil refugee camp Gandhi Pant, a nurse, escorts a patient with a possible appendicitis to a waiting ambulance. 

Batil is one of three camps in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State sheltering at least 113,000 refugees who have crossed the border from Blue Nile state to escape fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the SPLM-North armed group. Refugees arrive at the camp with harrowing stories of being bombed out of their homes, or having their villages burned. The camps into which they have poured are on a vast floodplain, leaving many tents flooded and refugees vulnerable to disease. Mortality rates in Batil camp are at emergency levels, malnutrition rates are more than five times above emergency thresholds, and diarrhea and malarial cases are rising.

Help us prepare for the next emergency