Yanomami Children With Malaria Die From Lack Of Community Relief, Says Health Council | Roraima

The Yanomami and Ye’kuana Indigenous Health District Council (Condisi-YY) reported on Friday (10) that two indigenous children died in a community on the Yanomami Land for lack of help.

The victims had malaria, according to the president of Condisi-YY, Júnior Hekurari Yanomami. The deaths were in the Xaruna community, Parima region. In May, the Council denounced the death of a severely malnourished child due to the delay in removal.

Health care for the Yanomami people is the responsibility of the Yanomami Indigenous Health District (Dsei-Y), under the Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health (Sesai), which reports to the Ministry of Health.

THE lack of aid, according to the Council, occurred because there was no gasoline for river transport, nor fuel for aerial removal to the capital, Boa Vista. One of the children was a 6 month old baby. The other was not of the informed age.

A letter reporting the situation and asking for action was sent to Sesai and the Federal Public Ministry (MPF). Wanted, the two bodies have not yet responded to the report.

“They began to ask for removal on the 8th. The indigenous people themselves reported that they did not have gasoline to rescue them, others also said that there was no gasoline in the helicopter. [As crianças] died yesterday at 5 pm,” said Hekurari.

Hekurari informed the Dsei-Y about the lack of means to remove the patients, but nothing was done.

“I contacted the Dsei-Yanomami asking them to look for these two patients and also a 60-year-old woman, who is still seriously ill in the region. According to other information, there are four other children in serious condition, too,” he said.

In the letter, Hekurari cited that “several rescues were made impossible due to lack of fuel, and so far no action has been taken by the manager of this Dsei […]. The scenario is serious and demands a coordinated and integral action of the bodies responsible for the health policy”.

“When the Yanomami people get sick, they just wait to die. Without any kind of help or assistance in these communities. The mothers are crying and I said that I did everything,” he said.

Wanted by G1, the coordinator of the Dsei-Y, Rômulo Pinheiro, said that the case is being investigated and that they are “verifying how it happened, when it happened, if it happened”.

Board requests the coordinator’s dismissal

After these two recent cases, Condisi-YY asked this Friday (10) the dismissal of the coordinator of Dsei-Y, Rômulo Pinheiro de Freitas. The request was made via official letter and forwarded to the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, and the secretary of Sesai, Robson Santos.

In the document, the Council affirms that “the lack of responsibility of the coordination resulted in several problems that directly affected the Yanomami Indigenous population”.

The Council also states that “the management of the current Dsei-Y coordinator is totally below expectations” and “the chaos in health is spreading in the communities”.

“In July 2020, Mr. Rômulo Pinheiro de Freitas assumed the coordination of this Dsei-Y, but his lack of planning resulted in several problems that directly affected the Yanomami Indigenous population. The facts require investigation, clarification and accountability. Indigenous health requires an intercultural dialogue to be implemented. Managers need to dialogue with indigenous leaders and health professionals.”

About the request, the coordinator said that Hekurari “does not represent the majority of the Yanomami”. The Ministry of Health has not yet commented on the request.

“Junior is an indigenous within 29 thousand. He alone signs this document. There is nothing to substantiate this. He reported these possible deaths last night and we are verifying the veracity of the cases. Junior, honestly, does not represents the majority of the Yanomami, and the document has only one signature,” stated the coordinator.

The largest indigenous reserve in Brazil, Terra Yanomami has around 28,000 indigenous people who live in more than 370 villages. A frequent target of garimpeiros, since May 10, the region faces tension in the Palimiú community due to armed attacks by garimpeiros.

The mining invasion causes the contamination of rivers and degradation of the forest, which reflects on the health of the Yanomami, especially children, who face malnutrition due to the scarcity of food.