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Participation and autonomy in the intercultural contexts of Indian Health: reflections from southern Brazil

The democratization of health actions and services in Brazil, as expressed in the National Health System (SUS) established in 1990, is based upon new relations between the State and society. Ideally, the principles and directives of SUS, also created in the Health Care Reform movement from 1976 onwards, establish the central role of the consumer and shift the axis of power from macro-institutions to local and regional levels, with broad participation of all the sectors that make up the health service field. In view of the historical inequalities and inequities experienced by the indigenous peoples of Brazil, the Subsystem of Attention to Indian Health as part of SUS was established in 1999. Since the implementation of the Subsystem seven years ago, there have been few reflections regarding the praxis of its key concepts in intercultural contexts: differentiated attention, Indian Health Agents and participation and social control. Considering these aspects, this article evaluates the model of attention to Indian health. Based on research from Southern Brazil, specifically from the State of Santa Catarina, and on the experience of participation in situations of social control, the authors hope to contribute to an evaluation of the Subsystem, which is imperative at this moment.

South American Indians; Indian Health Policy; Differentiated Attention; Intercultural Contexts


Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo. Associação Paulista de Saúde Pública. Av. dr. Arnaldo, 715, Prédio da Biblioteca, 2º andar sala 2, 01246-904 São Paulo - SP - Brasil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7880 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: saudesoc@usp.br