Brazil’s Program to Improve Indians’ Diet

The National Health Foundation (Funasa) will spend money in 2005 on projects by the National Health Inspection Service (Vigisus) to improve the living conditions and health of Indians and “quilombolas,” descendants of runaway slaves who live in rural ethnic communities.

The projects will include programs for the prevention, control, and treatment of diseases and municipal environmental health vigilance in states and municipalities.


The Vigisus was established in 1999 to improve and fortify the National Health Inspection Service and will receive US$ 190 million (515 million reais) in investments through June 2008.


The president of the Funasa, Valdi Carárcio Bezerra, explained that the activities that will be carried out in Indian villages and the “quilombola” communities will be different in nature.


“In the ‘quilombola regions,’ the Vigisus funds will be used to pay for sanitation projects. We will build bathrooms and extend public water sources to the homes. In the Indian villages, the job will be more extensive.


“It will start in the mental health area, since there are problems of alcoholism and suicides among members of the indigenous population. Support will be provided to the Indians’ traditional medicine, together with the efforts of our programs,” he affirmed.


In addition there is a plan to buy refrigerators to assure the preservation of vaccines in health posts in Indian villages.


“In the nutritional sphere, we shall conduct a study in each Indian community to improve the Indians’ dietary quality,” the Funasa president asserted.


The Foundation has US$ 48 million (130 million reais) in Vigisus funds to spend and Indian and “quilombola” communities over the next four years. Half of this money is from the Funasa budget, and the other half comes from a World Bank (IBRD) loan.


Translation: David Silberstein
Agência Brasil

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