Amazonia Foundation

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A Powerful Hope

20 YEARS AGO

The Brazilian gold rush of 1988 and deforestation of the rainforest in Brazil contributed to the outbreak of epidemics among the Yanomami. The difficulties of bringing medical aid to deep forest, semi-nomadic people are obvious, and complicated further by the people’s general distrust of outsiders.

The data collected by the Amazonia Foundation was submitted to the Venezuelan government after 1991, and concluded these findings. The Yanomami population was now suffering from outbreaks of malaria and hepatitis, along with such typical jungle infections as Onchocerciasis (river blindness) and parasites. The Amazonia Foundation report concluded that the only possible way to deal with such an extreme outbreak was to establish an ongoing medical infrastructure.

If it was possible to just leave the Yanomami alone, that would have been the best situation, but the epidemics were so severe that all medical authorities agreed that the Yanomami could not survive without outside help. Although the Venezuelan Ministry of Health, missionaries, doctors, advocates and scientists agreed something had to be done, there was no unity among the different groups. It seemed almost impossible to bring together the various organizations that were necessary to create a medical infrastructure.

For 15 years, the Amazonia Foundation has participated in and aided medical efforts among the Yanomami. Five years ago the situation seemed completely hopeless and nothing seemed to work.

AMAZONIA FOUNDATION TODAY

Working with unified goals, world-class expertise and a Venezuelan government that has probably had the best policy towards Indian rights in all the Americas, a goal that seemed at once unattainable can now be a reality. For the last three years the Amazonia Foundation helped support and create a new medical aid program with the Venezuelan Government. There still remains small, but effective, treatment programs currently operating on a tribal level that address all the aspects of Indian health care. They’re minimally invasive and always introduced with respect for the Yanomami’s culture, customs and beliefs.

It is possible, and imperative, to foster more programs with absolutely no political or religious agenda of any kind. There should be only one major goal: To stabilize the health of the last Yanomami tribes. Through its direct involvement, the Amazonia Foundation wishes to continue financing outstanding prevention treatment programs needed for the survival of the Yanomami.

GOALS

  • To control malaria, the number one killer of the Yanomami, which has claimed the lives of more people globally than any other disease.
  • Help bring successful medical aid to more Yanomami Indians in Venezuela.
  • Preventative medical immunization for children and young adults.
  • Financial aid to support ongoing programs to erradicate Onchocerciasis (river blindness).
  • Continued financial and physical support for all villages of Yanomami.

FIVE YEAR PLAN

To foster innovative and successful programs that can help stabilize the health of the entire Yanomami population.

LONG-TERM PLAN

To put into action the blueprint developed by the Venezuelan Ministry of Health for a working medical infrastructure that can be used to aid all remote tribal peoples.