22nd June 2020

In_pictures In pictures: Indigenous nurse on frontline in virus fight

In_pictures In pictures: Indigenous nurse on frontline in virus fight

In_pictures

in_pictures Vanderlecia puts on personal protective equipmentImage copyright
Reuters

As the coronavirus pandemic has spread across Brazil, indigenous people have been among the worst affected.

On the outskirts of the city of Manaus, Parque das Tribos is a settlement of descendants from 35 different tribes.

Many homes lack plumbing and electricity, and there is no public health clinic nearby.

Nurse Vanderlecia Ortega dos Santos has responded by volunteering to care for her indigenous community of 700 families.

in_pictures Vanderlecia and a friend walk along a road in Parque das TriosImage copyright
Reuters

“Our people are dying from this disease here and they are not being recognised as indigenous people by the state,” she told the Reuters news agency.

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in_pictures Vanderlecia visits a patient's homeImage copyright
Reuters

She has been monitoring some 40 patients suspected of having contracted Covid-19. To treat them, she gives her patients painkillers and other basic medicines, while offering guidance on limiting contagion.

in_pictures Vanderlecia examines a patient indoorsImage copyright
Reuters

She makes house visits wearing protective equipment – sometimes under a traditional Witoto headdress of macaw feathers.

in_pictures Vanderlecia and Natalina wear protective masks as they talk to a neighbour outside of his homeImage copyright
Reuters

in_pictures Vanderlecia talks to a patient indoorsImage copyright
Reuters

Restrictions imposed to slow the outbreak have damaged the local economy – including for women who work as maids and the men who labour on building sites.

in_pictures Vanderlecia talks to Robson Santos da Silva, as she takes part in a protestImage copyright
Reuters

She has taken part in protests when health officials visited, demanding medical attention for indigenous people.

in_pictures VanderleciaImage copyright
Reuters

She has also taken to wearing a mask which reads “Indigenous Lives Matter”.

All photographs by Bruno Kelly / Reuters

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