In pictures: Indigenous nurse on frontline in virus fight

June 10, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic has spread across Brazil, indigenous people have been among the worst affected.

 

On the outskirts of the city of Manaus, Parque das Tribos is a settlement of descendants from 35 different tribes.

 

Many homes lack plumbing and electricity, and there is no public health clinic nearby.

 

Nurse Vanderlecia Ortega dos Santos has responded by volunteering to care for her indigenous community of 700 families.

"Our people are dying from this disease here and they are not being recognized as indigenous people by the state," she told the Reuters news agency.

She has been monitoring some 40 patients suspected of having contracted Covid-19. To treat them, she gives her patients painkillers and other basic medicines, while offering guidance on limiting contagion.

She makes house visits wearing protective equipment - sometimes under a traditional Witoto headdress of macaw feathers.

Restrictions imposed to slow the outbreak have damaged the local economy - including for women who work as maids and the men who labour on building sites.

She has taken part in protests when health officials visited, demanding medical attention for indigenous people.

She has also taken to wearing a mask which reads "Indigenous Lives Matter".

 

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