CIMI - Indianist Missionary Council

Newsletter #185 - Date: Mon, 20 Nov 1995


The health situation of Indian peoples in Brazil was the main topic discussed at an audience which the minister of Health, Adib Jatene, held with Cimi representatives on November 14. At the audience, Cimi warned the minister that not enough attention is being paid to the health of Indians in Brazil and stressed that the difficulties which the Ministry has been facing to implement health actions in favor of Indians are largely derived from the nonimplementation of Indigenous Sanitary Districts throughout the country, as decided in National Health Conferences.

Cimi asked the minister to support the establishment of the Districts and actions to strengthen the Interinstitutional Indigenous Health Centers (NISI) and the Indian Health Councils as components of an assistential model which is adequate to Indian communities.

It was also highlighted that the training of Indian health agents should be specific, that is, it should not be based on ethnocentric and strictly technological criteria, but rather on a differentiated approach, so that the needs of the different peoples in the country may be adequately met. Recent data provided by Funai and published in the local press reveal that the health care provided to Indian peoples is the worst in the country. The document says that 43.6% of all known deaths are of children aged less than 5 and 25% occur without any medical assistance whatsoever. About 70% of the 200 Indian peoples in Brazil are included in the hunger map. The average lifetime of a Brazilian Indian is 48 years.

The Cimi representatives delivered a dossier to the minister on the Deni people, from the state of Amazonas, who are threatened with extinction because of common diseases, such as tuberculosis and malaria. In 1992. their population decreased by 20% because of a measles epidemics. Diseases that could be prevented through preventive medical care, such as diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition, are common causes of death in Indian areas.


On Monday, November 20, Funai will begin a demographic census in five of the 22 Guarani-Kaiowa villages, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The aim is to identify the present population and make a diagnosis of the living conditions in these villages, where overpopulation has been one of the factors that have led to a higher suicide rate. This week, the 49th death this year was registered. The method used in most suicides is hanging, and 63% of the victims are aged 25 in the average. The Guarani-Kaiowa population is estimated at 27,000 Indians. In the Dourados village, where most cases were registered, there are about 9,000 persons in 3,500 hectares. The work is expected to last 40 days.

Brasilia, November 17, 1995
Indianist Missionary Council