The necessary social distancing has made access to the health system even more difficult for quilombolas and riverside dwellers. “Before, the service came to the community every month. Now it has stopped coming and this delays the treatment of diabetics, hypertensive patients, pregnant women, children who had to be vaccinated”, reports quilombola Andréa dos Santos Alves, health agent in Muratubinha quilombola community, where 59 families live.
In the same municipality, in the Arapucu quilombola community – which is more than an hour by boat from the municipality council of Óbidos – Catarina Soares Franco, health agent and leader of the community association, says that the services are more restricted, even for those who manage to go to the municipality council. “Health care has become more complicated now. In the community there is a basic health care unit that works only with one nursing technician. There is no consultation with a medical doctor. This medical care is only available in the city but, due to the pandemic, they are restricted to avoid overcrowding”, said the health worker whose quilombo community consists of 79 families.
The purchase of medicines for the treatment of chronic diseases means that many still have to travel to urban centres. However, the suspension of public transport by the authorities in the two municipalities as a measure to contain the virus, made trips to the city even more difficult.
Evanilson Marinho de Figueiredo, president of the Associação das Comunidades das Glebas Trombetas e Sapucuá/ACOMTAGS [Association of the Communities of Glebas Trombetas and Sapucuá], which represents riverside communities in Oriximiná, demands a government action so that people can continue having their health treatments. “We need a policy aimed at distributing medicines in the communities. The hypertensive people, who are already under treatment and are in the risk group, suffer more”, points out the association’s leadership representing over 700 riverside families residing in the Trombetas-Sapucuá Agrarian Extractivism Settlement Project.
On its turn, the residents of the villages of the four Indigenous Lands in the region have the support of the Secretaria Especial de Saúde Indígena [Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health] linked to the Ministry of Health. Ângela Kaxuyana (COIAB) recognises the importance of this support in the territories, mainly to monitor contagion in the villages, but points out that “we have the situation of indigenous people who are in the urban context, whether it be to get health treatment, to study, or even those who were unable to return to indigenous territories because of the quarantine”.