USAID reactivated Indigenous Task Force

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Indigenous Task Force
The Indigenous Task Force

Cusco, 10 May 2022 (TDI): The Indigenous Task Force in Cursor, Peru was reactivated by USAID and Prisma ONG to support the Peruvian government’s vaccination campaign. The COVID19 vaccination has now been made available to everyone over the age of 12.

The expansion of immunization in the region has been advanced by assertion and respect for indigenous culture. COVID-19 forced Peru’s Indigenous community of Cusco to lock its borders in 2020.

Following the trend of other countries throughout the world, this was done to safeguard the population against COVID-19.

Safety drawbacks

The sealing of the border at Cusco worsened the separation that Indigenous communities were already feeling before COVID-19. It also weakened the Indigenous Task Force’s effectiveness.

An organization of Amazonian Indigenous governments and villages was weakened. The organizations that advocated for a more effective multicultural response to COVID-19 were not spared.

The Indigenous Task Force lacked a proper meeting venue and had to convene remotely. On the one hand, Indigenous communities’ internet service is unreliable. Furthermore, the workforce includes leaders of Amazonian ethnic groups.

Their physical presence is required to form agreements, and online disrupts social dynamics. Indigenous peoples lacked complete access to information about immunizations and their importance in saving lives.

This was related to community members’ doubt of modern health treatments. Lack of access to vaccination centers was also mentioned. This vaccine shortage was a concern that needed to be addressed.

USAID Support

The USAID and Prisma ONG COVID-19 Vaccination Support Project in Peru began in March 2021. The task of reactivating the COVID-19 Indigenous Task Force was assigned to it.

The goal was to boost vaccination rates among Amazonian indigenous peoples. In Cusco, USAID brought together community leaders, NGOs, municipal governments, and private firms as a first step.

Pluspetrol, for example, is collaborating on health interventions with the Cusco Regional Health Department and Indigenous community organizations. In the Cusco city of Quillabamba, USAID brought together leaders of the major Amazonian organizations for a two-day face-to-face meeting.

The goal was to find out how they felt about the COVID-19 vaccine and infection prevention and control efforts in their communities. Health professionals could then take this into account when beginning the immunization process.

Leaders from Cusco’s Lower Urubamba Management Committee contributed to a higher level of openness in each village. This committee is made up of Amazonian community leaders that represent their villages.

It also affects the settlers who reside on their land. It encourages respect for indigenous culture and the environment. It advocates the protection and recovery of land and natural resources.

It also improves the community’s cultural identity and engagement in national, regional, and local politics. Due to the health intervention efforts, it participated throughout the region during the COVID-19 epidemic.

As a result, instead of waiting for the Indigenous population to approach health facilities. Health personnel began to move into villages. The Peque peque, a small wooden lake boat, and pongueros were used by the health brigades.

Some brigades had to travel 21 hours by water to reach the towns with the least coverage after being in a metal lake boat for 15 days. Because the river basin is the only mode of transportation in the area, health personnel traveled through it.

As a result, the COVID-19 vaccines reached communities in a more equal and timely manner. From beginning to end, USAID and Prisma assisted with the immunization logistics.

This guaranteed that the vaccines were properly stored and administered to the individuals in these isolated villages.

The rise in vaccination rates

In the province of the Convention, the number of people who received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine doubled. This was accomplished through the vaccination campaign and the government’s backing from the Indigenous Task Force.

In persons above the age of 12, the rate increased from 29% to 62%. COVID-19 instances reduced from 782 to 290 in Megantoni, one of the places where the Indigenous Command intervened.

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