A survey by the Pólis Institute shows that, in precarious territories in the city of São Paulo with a structured community organization, the control of covid-19 is being more effective compared to the municipal average. This is the case of Paraisópolis, one of the largest Brazilian slums, which has more than 70 thousand inhabitants.
According to the institute, on May 18, 2020, the mortality rate in the favela by covid-19 was 21.7 people per 100 thousand inhabitants. The index is below the municipal average (56.2) and in neighborhoods such as Pari (127), Brás (105.9), Brasilândia (78), and Sapopemba (72).
The percentage of elderly people, considered one of the groups at risk of the disease, is lower in Paraisópolis compared to that of the municipality. “The Paraisópolis residents’ association developed strategies to fill the lack of public policies for the community. First, the system of street presidents was created, in which volunteers are responsible for monitoring families for possible symptoms of covid-19. 420 presidents – taking care of about 50 houses each “, informed the institute in the study.
In addition to monitoring, the presidents were responsible for carrying out activities to raise public awareness about the virus and against the fakenews about the disease. They also collected and distributed basic food baskets and were trained to provide correct referral to those who had symptoms. “The scenario in Paraisópolis makes it clear that primary health care initiatives and actions aimed at ensuring food security and other essential expenses, with extensive testing and active search for new cases and control of family members are effective in combating the pandemic in urban centers. Thus, in Paraisópolis we would have a good example for a public policy to contain the virus that could be replicated, as a state policy, in other vulnerable territories “, says the institute.