Foto: Beto Ricardo, 2002


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Health and Education

At the present time, the Park has 68 teachers from 14 ethnic groups, who teach in 36 schools located in the villages and indigenous posts, serving 1,258 students. The teachers composed the Pedagogical Political Project for their schools, from the 1st to 4th stages ( equivalent to the first four grades of basic education), with a specific and culturally differentiated program, developed with the consultancy of the education staff of the ISA.

Most of the schools are connected to the Secretary of Education of the State of Mato Grosso, although there are seven schools connected to municipalities around the Park. Since 1994 indigenous alphabets have been developed by the teachers, with the help of linguists, for writing all the languages. The teachers produce their own didactic books in the indigenous languages and in Portuguese.

In relation to health, discussion of the re-organization of services in this area began in 1990,  organized by the Unifesp/Escola Paulista de Medicina and initially involving the Indigenous Health Agents and several local leaders. The maintenance of a regular training program for Indigenous Health Agents, the work developed by the health staff and the meetings of the Counsel of Leaders of the ATIX have made it possible to create contexts which have facilitated the participation of the communities in the discussion of their health problems. At the same time, they have made a greater inter-institutional articulation possible with the involvement of the National Health Foundation (Funasa), Funai, Secretary of Health of the State of Mato Grosso (SES/MT) and municipal secretaries of health (SMS) of several municipalities around the Xingu Park, composing a more favorable picture with regard to the organization of health assistance on the regional level. As a result, the process of  establishing the Indigenous Special Sanitary District of the Xingu (DSEI/ Xingu) is characterized by the change of sanitary practices, which are now done according to a new paradigm centered on health care.

The DSEI/Xingu officially began its activities on August 12, 1999, through an agreement established between the Funasa and the Unifesp. By the terms of the agreement, the Unifesp is responsible for taking care of basic assistance actions from the villages to the referral services of the regional Health Unit Services (SUS). It is up to the National Health Foundation to repass the financial resources,  monitor and accompany actions related to the control of endemic diseases such as malaria and dengue.

The District seeks to implement an integral approach to health, taking into consideration all of the determining factors in the health-sickness process: sociocultural, political, environmental, and biological. The organization of health services has as its basic principles, equity, accessibility, hierarchy and decentralization. The territory for health assistance was divided into three areas of coverage, each corresponding to a base-pole: Leonardo, Pavuru and Diauarum. A series of localities and corresponding population are served by each base-pole. Each base-pole has a multi-professional health team, comprised of doctors, nurses, nursing assistants and indigenous health agents.

First aid is done in the territorial space of the villages, on a continuous basis. It consists of basic health assistance actions, promoting health and sanitation which is the responsibility of the health agents and indigenous teachers, with the support and participation of the staff of the corresponding area. When it is not possible to resolve the problem in the village, the sick are sent to the Basic Health Units (UBS) located on the base-poles(headquarters of the areas covered).

[With the collaboration of healthworkers from the Unifesp Douglas Rodrigues and Sofia Mendonça]