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Health and indigenous peoples in Brazil: reflections based on the First National Survey of Indigenous People's Health and Nutrition

The current configuration of indigenous peoples’ health in Brazil results from a complex historical trajectory, responsible for major delays for this population segment in the countrywide social advances seen in recent decades, particularly in the fields of health, education, housing, and sanitation. The main focus of this contribution is to review synthetically a selection of the main results of the First National Survey of Indigenous People's Health and Nutrition, conducted in the period 2008-2009, which visited 113 villages across the Brazil and interviewed 6,692 women and 6,128 children. Among the results, emphasis is given to the observed poor sanitation conditions in villages, high prevalence of chronic malnutrition, anemia, diarrhea, and acute respiratory infections in children, and the emergence of non-communicable chronic diseases in women. The scenario depicted by this survey requires urgent critical review of indigenous health policy in order to better meet the health needs of Brazil’s indigenous population.

Indigenous Population; Ethnic Groups; Health Policy; Health of Indigenous Peoples

Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz Rua Leopoldo Bulhões, 1480 , 21041-210 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel.:+55 21 2598-2511, Fax: +55 21 2598-2737 / +55 21 2598-2514 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil