Project Talia: one little girl´s legacy brings health care to the Jauaperi
July 17 2010
Xixuaú is 30 hours from the hospitals of Manaus, so access to basic health services has long been a priority for the community in Xixuaú.
In 1995 one room in Xixuaú was kitted out as a basic health post, and since then the Italian partners of the local Association have sent out temporary volunteer nurses from Italy. They helped Jauaperi communities to work with the public health services on a major drive to eliminate malaria, including training Francinede Pineiro as a specialist malarial health agent, able to spot malarial parasites under the microscope. This has been a huge success: in 1996 2,000 malaria cases were recorded, but the latest figures now show that in 2009 this had reached its lowest ever, of just 13 cases.
Despite these fantastic results, an incident two years ago made everyone in Xixuaú realise how important it is for the local people to take full control of health care for themselves. A six year old girl, Talia, was stung by a scorpion. If a volunteer nurse had been in Xixuaú at the time, anti-venom could easily have been administered and Talia would have survived. Sadly, this was not the case.
The community was determined that Talia would have a lasting legacy that would benefit all the children and adults along the Jauaperi river: ‘Project Talia’ was established. This has finally brought sustainable health care to the Jauaperi, 24 year old Artemizia Brazão, from Xixuaú itself, has successfully completed her 20 months of study and is now qualified as a nurse, serving all the communities of the river. The Association struck a deal with the Roraima state health authorities that the Association would pay for her training and then the state would employ her as the first professional nurse based on the Jauaperi.
Artemizia is now able to provide emergency health care, prescribe medicines, treat childhood illness, manage maternal health, administer anti-venom and deal with all the common fevers, infections, accidents and parasites prevalent in the ten communities along the Jauaperi.