Thousands of Yanomami families have migrated and permanently settled along major rivers in the Upper Orinoco. This has brought about a whole new set of public health challenges in respect to diseases, diet and nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation. These communities have become more vulnerable to introduced diseases such as tuberculosis and measles. Additionally, the introduction of processed foods like bleached rice and refined sugar increases health risks such as decline in dental health, loss of microbiome diversity, diabetes and obesity. Rising population densities in villages raises deep concerns over increased spread of communicable infections, and decreased sanitation. Many Yanomami now travel to the hospital in Puerto Ayacucho presenting a new set of challenges for Venezuelan health care system.
In 2006, the office of Indigenous Health in Venezuela was founded as a direct response to the difficulties presented for hospitals in providing quality care to indigenous patients. This was a commitment of the Venezuelan state to meet the health needs of the Yanomami people and other native populations. In 2009, the Venezuelan Ministry of Health created regional health programs such as the Service of Attention and Orientation for the Indigenous (SAOI), the Yanomami Health Plan (PSY), Project Cacique Nigales. Salud Indigena, a branch of the ministry of health, provides healthcare specialized for indigenous people by staffing personnel that are bilingual, sensitive to Yanomami culture, and provide assistance in navigating through the national healthcare process. Such clinics are essential in successfully providing quality healthcare for the Yanomami.
The Good Project supports health clinics and programs that provide specialized care for the Yanomami people. Resources such as medical supplies, medicines, and support staff are combined to achieve our common goals.
On the next expedition in 2019, the Good Project will deliver over 6,000 mosquito nets to the Yanomami people in an effort to prevent the spread of malaria and other tropical disease vectored by mosquitoes and other insects. Additionally, microscopes will be delivered to health posts located throughout Yanomami territory. Microscopy is the first line of diagnostics for identifying parasites in fecal and blood smears. They can also be used to educate Yanomami communities in basic microscopy skills thereby empowering them to take a participatory roles alongside medical personnel.