Doctors Without Borders blocked from giving Covid-19 care to Brazilian indigenous

msf protest at the National Health Foundation
Indigenous groups protest at the National Health Foundation. Photo: Joa Souza/Shutterstock

International humanitarian NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) submitted a plan to provide Covid-19 care and assistance to seven indigenous communities in southern Brazil, but was blocked by the Brazilian government.

MSF intended to help prevent and treat coronavirus cases among the Terena indigenous villages, but Brazil’s indigenous health department Sesai rejected the plan, sending its own doctors to another village instead, where it claimed the Covid-19 threat was more prevalent.

Indigenous communities have been a particular cause for concern during the Covid-19 pandemic, as these populations often live in cramped dwellings with poor sanitation infrastructure, making social distancing and basic hygiene extremely difficult.

By Sesai’s calculations, 348 indigenous people have died from Covid-19 in Brazil, with over 20,000 confirmed cases. Indigenous rights groups dispute these figures, however, with estimates of over twice the number of reported deaths.

Support this coverage →Support this coverage →