The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) announced the donation of US$ 100 thousand for an emergency effort to combat malnutrition among indigenous children, in the region of Dourados, state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.
The National Health Foundation (Funasa) will also contribute with US$ 1.6 million for the implementation of safe water systems in the state tribes, where over 15 thousand indigenous people of the Bororó, Jaguapiru, and Amambaí tribes live.
Since February, Funasa counted 11 deaths among indigenous children in the state, and several of them were related to malnutrition.
The emergency program will also distribute vitamin A and basic food baskets for the indigenous populations. According to a Unicef representative in Brazil, Marie-Pierre Poirier, the objective of the donation is to avoid that more indigenous children die in the state.
“The partnership with the Brazilian government, through Funasa and other related organisms, will enable the implementation of plans for long term assistance, so that this situation will not happen again,” she says.
Funasa’s Director of the Department for Indigenous Health, Alexandre Padilha, states that children’s deaths are related to the lack of potable water in the tribes – which contributes to the contamination of water with parasites and bacteria -, and also to the lack of vitamin A, which decreases children’s immune system resistance.
“City and state public health system shall also be improved through the Ministry of Health and Funasa’s measures. The action plan to avoid deaths and eradicate malnutrition from Dourados’ indigenous tribes also contemplates hospitals revitalization and health agents training.
The government of Mato Grosso do Sul along with the government of 18 cities, indigenous organizations, universities, as well as the Army will also participate in the program.