Hivos expands the Amazon Indigenous Health Route

April 6, 2021

Thanks to the financial support of The Rockefeller Foundation, the Amazon Indigenous Health Route will improve access to Covid-19 care for 339,000 individuals from 23 Indigenous peoples and local communities in the Ecuadorian, Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon.

In the Amazon, Covid-19 represents an increasing threat. The lack of access to health services and a proper response to the pandemic have added to the pressures that Indigenous peoples and local communities and their territories have historically faced. The effects of Covid-19 and the authorities’ limited response measures have exacerbated their existing vulnerabilities to the impacts of deforestation, logging, illegal mining, oil extraction and the constant violation of their human and territorial rights.

In mid-2020, Hivos decided to try and deal with his situation through its All Eyes on the Amazon program. The project called the “Amazon Indigenous Health Route” was a step-by-step model to respond to the spread of Covid-19 by improving healthcare access for Amazonian Indigenous peoples in Ecuador. This initiative was developed in coordination with CONFENIAE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon), civil society organizations, and the Ministry of Public Health, with technical support from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

In Ecuador, quite a few results have been achieved so far:

  • Development of an integrated health care network
  • Design of access routes to health centers to facilitate access for the Waorani, Shuar, A’i Kofán, Siona and Achuar peoples
  • Training activities in prevention, health and community care measures aimed at health professionals, community health promoters and Indigenous leaders
  • Development of a friendly and easy-to-use protocol with prevention and care measures with four lines of action: Family, Community, Health Promoters and Health Professionals
  • Production of graphic and educational material kits
  • Provision of 2,000 Covid-19 PCR tests aimed at Amazonian Indigenous peoples
  • First place in the SDSN Amazonia 2020 Award (Sustainable Development Solutions Network)

Expanding the health route

Since December 2020, thanks to the financial support of The Rockefeller Foundation, Hivos has been consolidating the Amazon Indigenous Health Route in Ecuador, while adapting it for expansion to the Madre de Dios region (Peru) and the state of Maranhao (Brazil). This process has involved intercultural knowledge dialogues and collaborative work with Indigenous organizations (CONFENIAE in Ecuador, FENAMAD in Madre de Dios – Peru, and CTI in Maranhao – Brazil), as well as with the public health systems in all three countries.

The Amazon Indigenous Health Route provides Indigenous organizations and health facilities in the Amazon with tools and capacity building to improve the access to care, prevention and protection measures, and places the rights and cultures of Indigenous peoples at the core of public health systems.

By adapting the response strategies to COVID-19 so that they are relevant, pertinent and appropriate for these specific territorial and cultural realities, the initiative aims to improve access to health and the response to COVID-19 for 339,000 people from 23 Indigenous peoples and local communities in the Amazon.

The project is organized around four strategies:

Strategy 1 places the needs and rights of Indigenous peoples at the center of the diagnostic and primary healthcare and telehealth networks to improve their access to care, prevention and protection measures.

Strategy 2 adapts health promotion and disease prevention approaches and materials so they are culturally relevant and can effectively foster behavioral change in target Indigenous communities.

Strategy 3 develops capacities of indigenous Community Health Promoters (CHP).

Strategy 4 expands digital surveillance capacity in Indigenous communities and links data to the formal health system.

How does the Amazon Indigenous Health Route work?

For more information

Daniel de la Torre
Covid-19 Strategy Leader

Nora Sanchez
AIR Communications Officer