Health-interfering streets experiences: homeless people’s perspective

Fabiana Aparecida Almeida Lawall Valle Beatriz Francisco Farah Nivaldo Carneiro JuniorAbout the authors

ABSTRACT

Health, understood as a multidetermined attribute, characterizes the political and social organization of a country. From Brazilian 1988’s Federal Constitution onwards, health has been understood as an individual right. Homeless people create important obstacles on the accomplishment of such right. The objective of this study is to understand the difficulties encountered on the streets that impact the perception and health state of adults living on the streets of a municipality in Zona da Mata Region, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. A qualitative methodological approach was applied through semi-structured interviews and observation recorded on a field diary. The research interviewed 20 people living on the streets. Main difficulties involved climate exposition, as rain and cold; prejudice; vulnerability to physical and sexual abuse; obstacles to access food, drinking water and toilets; difficulties to access certain social spaces and health treatment. By knowing the situations that determine the various levels of health among people living on the streets, it is possible to build strategies and policies so to cope with their actual needs. Inter-sectoriality of public action is still a great challenge, despite necessary to accomplish a right that is fundamental and universal: health.

KEYWORDS
Homeless people; Right to health; Health status disparities

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