Brazil has more than 286,000 community health workers integrated into the national primary healthcare program. These professionals form a broad network serving 75% of the population, especially low-income families who lack medical insurance and are the most adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Back in March, researchers at Imperial College London noted Brazil’s network of community health workers as a valuable asset that could assure an effective response to the pandemic. According to the article, the service they provide sets an example to be followed by other countries. But the response was not effective, there was no national plan, and the service provided by community health workers wasn’t considered essential to control the disease until July.
They weren’t even considered health professionals and so weren’t given personal protective equipment [PPE], just to take one example,” said Gabriela Lotta, a professor at Getúlio