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The Health and Happiness Project in the Brazilian Amazon has been a successful initiative. This project operates in 72 riverside communities in the Amazon Region.The Brazilian Amazon region is one of the most valuable
ethnic, geographical, and cultural assets of the country, and undeniably constitutes one of humanity’s greatest ecological storehouses. It is the Brazilian region with the greatest land area, occupying nearly 60% of the national territory. On the other hand, it is the one with the lowest demographic density: only 12.7% of the Brazilian population (approximately 23 million inhabitants).
In the Amazon region, we have to consider the following characteristics linked to difficulties in implementing the health care system: logistics of displacement and lack of repairs to the road network, land management, and, finally, difficulty in extension of medical care.
The public health system in the Amazon region, although improving, is not sufficient in scope for the large distances, low fiscal resources, difficulties of communication and transportation, different profiles of morbidity and mortality, low investment in infrastructure and sanitation, and difficulty of outreach of health teams.
Given this context, the NGO Health and Joy (Saúde e Alegria) was founded in 1987, to find solutions adapted to the reality of this region and meet the challenge of reducing the levels of exclusion of these populations, making medical care more accessible, as well as developing appropriate technologies for health care, education, and prevention based on the available human, material, and natural resources. This was with the understanding that these non-governmental efforts could be gradually absorbed and multiplied by the public authorities, thus also contributing to improvement of the role of the state.