PCAB Transforming Lives: New reality with COVID-19: Devising strategies to minimize impacts.

PCAB: Transforming Lives

With new challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, PCAB implementing partners were forced to review their operations in the region. USAID/Brazil supported many projects in their adaptation efforts to protect beneficiaries and guarantee their health and safety.

USAID also established other partnerships to provide COVID relief support in the Amazon, as well as additional resources targeted to traditional humanitarian partners.

Partners' response to COVID impacts included activities in several areas, such as the dissemination of new health protocols, the distribution of personal protective equipment, and the donation of basic food baskets and hygiene kits. In addition, internet networks were installed or expanded in several areas and Indigenous lands (TIs) to enable communication and deliver online training and monitoring programs.

Communication also played a key role in keeping Indigenous, riverine and quilombola communities informed about COVID-19, including preventive measures and vaccination schedules. In this issue of our newsletter, we present some actions adopted in recent months to minimize the impacts of the pandemic on communities.

1 - Solidarity to Mitigate the Effects of the Pandemic

Since April 2020 and in the early months of 2021, USAID/Brazil focused its attention on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic – alongside its efforts to advance biodiversity conservation in the Amazon.

In addition to donating 1,000 ventilators to Brazil in 2020, the United States Government, through USAID, has delivered R$ 1.5 million (US$ 300,000) for emergency COVID-19 response in Brazil. The funds were used to respond to local health authorities’ priorities to address the needs of the most vulnerable in the Amazon region

USAID joined forces with its partners to respond to the health and sanitation needs of communities in the Amazon. The PPA Solidarity: Response to COVID-19 in the Amazon was created to leverage innovative solutions that could scale and strengthen the rapid response to the emergency and the fight against the pandemic. Approximately R$18.2 million were leveraged with private sector companies, in addition to the R$10.6 million invested by USAID through NPI Expand.

In 2020, PPA Solidarity distributed food baskets and hygiene kits to over 14,500 families in the Amazon, trained more than 360 healthcare workers, donated 308,000 face masks made by local seamstresses, and reached over 500,000 people with its educational and awareness-raising campaigns. 

PPA Solidarity also provided financial and management support to over 720 entrepreneurs and 24 local businesses with a view to mitigating the economic impacts of COVID-19 in the Amazon. 

Learn more about the projects here. 

2 - Juruti Project against COVID

The Partnership Platform for the Amazon (PPA) has continuously evolved since it was created in 2017, and its members remain committed to the common objectives of promoting Amazon conservation while improving the well-being and socioeconomic conditions of its communities. 

It is under this spirit that the Juruti Project against COVID-19 was created, implemented by the Sustainable Juruti Institute (IJUS) with the support of the Alcoa Institute, the Alcoa Foundation, Juruti Family Agriculture Cooperative (Cooafajur) and PPA Solidarity. The initiative works on three fronts, preventing infection, strengthening the local health system and supporting local entrepreneurs. 

In the first line, it will promote preventive measures through information campaigns, distribution of food baskets and hygiene kits for vulnerable populations. Project actions include the donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Juruti Municipal Health Secretariat, an initiative that has benefited health workers at primary healthcare units and the Municipal Hospital. 

Since September 2020, 220 community healthcare officers (known as Agentes Populares de Saúde) have been trained in Juruti, and the Nove de Abril Hospital has expanded its capacity with 32 new beds. In addition, Juruti received 11,400 prevention kits in donation, including hand sanitizer, face masks and information material (read more about it here).

“The training was very positive for us, because it covered all that the community needed. We wanted the community to receive minimum support - which was the hygiene kit - like masks for prevention. Because it doesn’t work to only give information, you also need to give kits for protection”, said Kelly Góes, nurse and coordinator of the health unit Irmã Ávila, in Juruti Velho.

The project also includes income generation through non-medical mask production and mitigation of the economic damage of the pandemic with support to smallholder farmers.