Vaccination Week in the Americas 2005


Vaccination of Indigenous Children and Women Starts in Brazil

PAHO/WHO Representative in Brazil, Horácio Toro (left), "Zé Gotinha", and Health Minister Humberto Costa

Brasilia, April 5, 2005 (PAHO)—Today marked the official start of Vaccination Week in the Americas, whose target this year is the indigenous population. At the launch of the campaign, which happened in the village of "Mura da Trincheira", in the city of Altazes (in the Amazon), Brazilian Minister of Health Humberto Costa stated that indigenous health is one of the priorities of the Federal Government. According to him, all the efforts of the National Foundation of Health (Funasa) in the promotion of indigenous health "certainly will result in much better health indicators by the end of this government."

The minister justified the selection of the Mura da Trincheira village for the launch of the campaign saying that besides being an isolated locality, it has a well-organized indigenous movement. Others present to the ceremony were the president of the National Health Foundation (Funasa), Valdi Camárcio Bezerra, and "Joe Droplet ("Zé Gotinha"), symbol of Brazilian vaccination campaigns.

Valdi Camarcio said that he expects that all goals will be reached. According to him, "since last year, we arranged with the Pan American Health Organization all the necessary steps to meet the objective of improving vaccination coverage of the indigenous communities in remote villages. I have no doubt that it will require great effort, but we are prepared, well organized, and we trained our team to be able to meet the demand."

Throughout the month of April, approximately 750 health professionals and indigenous health workers will visit approximately 600 villages, located in 12 Brazilian states, immunizing 16,000 indigenous against 13 diseases. The priority is to vaccinate children under five, women of childbearing age and pregnant women.

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