The Health Situation of Indigenous Populations

All the versions of this article: [English] [français] [français]

There are many official reports across the world that show that the quality of the health of indigenous peoples, as well as their life expectancy is lower than that of non-indigenous populations. The situation in Ecuador is no different than that of others in the world. To address the issue of health in the Amazon in a comprehensive manner, we believe that it is necessary to understand the structural causes at the source of this issue. Many evils and illnesses occur due to the general deterioration of the quality of life in the areas where indigenous people live. This is not only about the lack of food resources, of deforestation, or pollution, among other factors. This is also about the fact that people are abandoning their traditional knowledge and practices, are neglecting preventive practices and are allowing social tensions between and within communities to worsen.”

JPEG - 213.6 kb
"Cuando mataron la boa, terminó el pescado..."
(Carlota Vargas - Río Sasapi)

“When they killed the Anaconda, the fish left.”
(Carlota Vargas - Río Sasapi)

Although the situation between the communities living on the border of colonization and those living further away from it varies, most of them are subjected to the changes caused by the progressive adoption of the western lifestyle. A paradoxical consequence of this is the general impoverishment of indigenous peoples.
The result of this is the outside image of indigenous peoples as underdeveloped or currently in the process of becoming developed. This image is what is a source of the vicious cycle of western “development projects”, that do not always improve the situation, but very often make it worse. Health and education systems, as well as production and economy conceived and managed according to the western vision fail to re-establish the necessary balance to guarantee the physical, social and cultural survival of indigenous peoples. All that it managed to achieve is to progressively insert them in the poorest and most excluded layers of national society.
The growing migration towards urban centers in search for better life conditions and opportunities generates a new set of issues, which equally deserve to be addressed with particular attention.

JPEG - 241.6 kb
Una mirada hacia el futuro - Niños Shiwiar - Chuintza

“Children of the future”, (Showier Nation)

The main aim of Sacha Warmi Muskuy is to contribute to the betterment of the health conditions among indigenous populations in Ecuadorian Amazonia. All the activities lead by Sacha Warmi Musuy in education, training, promotion and research linked to the theme of health from a socio-environmental and intercultural perspective represent an effort towards this aim.
  oO)-.
 /__  _\
 \  (  |
  \__|\ {
  '  '--'