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LETTER TO EDITOR  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 59-60
The emergency challenges of coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in Brazilian favelas: How to face it?


Department of Immunology, Institute of Biomedical Science, Federal University of Uberlândia, Uberlândia, MG, Brazil

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Date of Submission17-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance23-Jun-2020
Date of Web Publication29-Jan-2021
 

How to cite this article:
Teixeira SC. The emergency challenges of coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in Brazilian favelas: How to face it?. J Global Infect Dis 2021;13:59-60

How to cite this URL:
Teixeira SC. The emergency challenges of coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in Brazilian favelas: How to face it?. J Global Infect Dis [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Apr 23];13:59-60. Available from: https://www.jgid.org/text.asp?2021/13/1/59/308028




Sir,

Brazil declared the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as a public health emergency. Up to date, Brazil is considered the Latin America's worst-hit country by COVID-19 pandemic and became the World's 2th country in cases. On June 19, 2020, the Brazilian Health Surveillance Secretariat confirmed altogether 1,032,913 cases and 48,954 deaths.[1]

A large portion of the Brazilian population reside in peripheral subnormal cluster regions culturally called favelas [Figure 1].[2] The typical favela has poor infrastructure, where the individuals have an evident difficult to access essential public health care, basic sanitation, and safe electricity among other assistance services. Face the recent COVID-19 pandemic, what are the main emergency challenges faced by Brazilian favelas?
Figure 1: The photography illustrates the poor infrastructure of a typical favela located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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The favelas located in the state of Rio de Janeiro add up to more deaths from COVID-19 than 15 states in Brazil, with 2014 cases and 420 deaths.[3] However, due to the lack of tests and correct diagnoses, the number of infected individuals and deaths caused by the coronavirus in Brazilian favelas is much higher than that has shown; in addition, many deaths are being considered with undetermined cause. Moreover, due to the divergencies between data released by different levels of the government, the underreporting cases in favelas are one of the main challenges to combat the pandemic and contribute to mask the sad reality faced by favelas.

On February 6, 2020, Brazil decreed the law (N° 13.979) that provides measures to face the outbreak of COVID-19, aiming mainly the isolation between sick and infected individuals.[4] However, the health-care conducts based on the physical isolation are basically impracticable in favelas, where normally five or more people living in a same small house, sharing small spaces including the same bathroom. Moreover, to guarantee the family supported, Brazil's favela residents probably will continue leaving their homes to work, contributing to the increase in the cases of “community transmission.” In addition, a recent survey realized in 269 Brazilian favelas showed that eight of every ten favela residents need to leave their neighborhoods to get supplies, such as food, medicine, and hygiene articles,[5] which could potentialize the COVID-19 transmission.

In the current pandemic scenario, Brazilian public policies to combat COVID-19 are insufficient and do not reach the individuals that living in favelas, making them a vulnerable group. Thus, the government should create policies more specific to the favelas, taking in an account the peculiarities of the poor living conditions of these people, such as offering a wide access to water, food, medicine, hygiene products (alcohol for aseptic hands), and masks, assuring basic conditions to deal with COVID-19 pandemic. Face the inefficient government assistance, many Brazilian favelas have dealt with the recent pandemic through the help of humanitarian and solidarity actions from nongovernmental movements.

Acknowledgments

This study was in part supported by CNPq, CAPES (Financial Code 001), and FAPEMIG.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Brazilian Ministry of Health. Coronavirus Brasil. Available from: https://covid.saude.gov.br. [Last accessed on 2020 Jun 20].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Baena, V. Favelas in the spotlight: Transforming the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Harvard Int Rev 2011; v. 33:34-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
COVID-19 Nas Favelas. Available from: https://painel.vozdascomunidades.com.br. [Last accessed on 2020 Jun 20].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Brasil. Lei No 13.979, de 6 de fevereiro de 2020. Provides for measures to deal with the public health emergency of international importance resulting from the coronavirus responsible for the 2019 outbreak. Available from: http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2019-2022/2020/lei/L13979.htm. [Last accessed on 2020 Jun 15].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Instituto Locomotiva: Research and Strategy. Available from: https://www.ilocomotiva.com.br/single-post/2020/04/14/JC1-Pesquisa-revela-que-mais-da-metade-dos-moradores- das-favelas-não-tem-renda-para-mais-de-uma-semana. [Last accessed on 2020 Jun 15].  Back to cited text no. 5
    

Top
Correspondence Address:
Prof. Samuel Cota Teixeira
Institute of Biomedical Science, Federal University of Uberlândia, Campus Umuarama, Av. Para, 1720, 38400239, Uberlândia, MG
Brazil
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jgid.jgid_207_20

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2008 Journal of Global Infectious Diseases | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 10th December, 2008