Indigenous community health workers are part of a strategy developed by Brazil in the last two decades to promote a special healthcare model for indigenous peoples. Their role is designed to deal with various aspects of the special health policy, including the link between the heath team and the community and mediation between scientific and indigenous medical knowledge. Despite a significant increase in the number of indigenous community health workers in recent years, an evaluation of their responsibilities and contributions to the success of special care had not been conducted previously. This article, based on a literature review and original research by the authors, analyzes the role of the indigenous community health workers vis-à-vis their training and participation in health teams in different contexts in Brazil. Considering the importance assigned to the role of indigenous community health workers, this analysis reveals various ambiguities and contradictions that hinder both their performance and their potential contribution to the special health services.
Health of Indigenous Peoples; Community Health Workers; Indigenous Health Services