COVID-19: Combating fear and denial among the most vulnerable in Brazil

Brazil is now the country with the third highest number of coronavirus cases worldwide, and there are fears that it will become the new epicenter of the pandemic. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams are responding in Vaz Logo, Rio de Janeiro, where many people lack access to public health services. MSF activities include carrying out health promotion in communities, triage and basic medical consultations, as well as distributing hygiene kits. The teams are focused on reaching homeless people, who are among the most vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. In this video, we hear from health promotion coordinator Lia Gomes and physician Ana Maria Amorim as they describe the challenges facing homeless people. Many people don’t have a safe place for self isolation, and there is also widespread fear and denial in this particularly vulnerable community. “That is very hard. They deny it. Fear. A lot of fear. They have difficulties at all levels, starting with not being able to isolate,” says Ana. MSF is urging those who are able to remain physically distant to stay home to slow the spread of the new coronavirus and to protect the most vulnerable people.