The curse of Xawara
The yanomamis call infectious diseases “xawara.” The “xapirí” or shaman cannot cure these diseases, because they were brought in by agents from outside their habitat. This population lives in areas where there is illegal mining, fires have destroyed their homes, and they face diseases previously unknown to them.
To treat onchocerciasis there, it is very important to understand the yanonamis’ cultural and ethnic cosmovision. This is where Brazilian comprehensive health care, through the Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health (SESAI), comes into play, forging a link between ancestral health and the public health care system. The health team that travels to this corner of the Amazon jungle also includes an anthropologist who remains contact with the state medical health team and the xapirí.