One Amazon: A one-health assessment of emerging epidemic threats and resilience among Amazonian indigenous peoples
Amazonian indigenous peoples face mounting pressures over their territories, livelihoods, and cultural survival, and they face the threat of new epidemics emerging from human-animal-environment interactions. Food security and nutritional conditions are part of a set of complex interrelated factors crucial in the vulnerability and resilience to these epidemic threats. The recent COVID-19 pandemic provides a good example of how severely Amazonian indigenous peoples can be impacted by pandemics. It also demonstrates their resilience. When public health systems proved insufficient, communities organized themselves to contain propagation and assist the ill using traditional health knowledge. Indigenous women assumed crucial roles as caregivers, but they did not have adequate protection against the virus. Information on the incidence and evolution of the pandemic and indigenous community responses is largely absent from official records and is therefore not informing preparedness programs.
This project aims to document the risk and vulnerability of Amazonian indigenous peoples in the face of emerging zoonotic (animal-to-human transmission) epidemics and contribute to their resilience. It will do so by producing localized evidence of the multi-dimensional underlying factors, co-developed with indigenous communities in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. It will also strengthen monitoring and early warning through community-based health surveillance programs and training. Social and interdisciplinary research applying participatory action-research methodology will be undertaken in nine rural communities and one urban indigenous group in each country, representing a range of possibilities regarding territorial and food security and sovereignty, cultural diversity, and exposure to outside threats and pressures. It will also promote the transformation of gender and intersectional inequalities (such as age, ethnic identity, etc.) influencing risk, vulnerability, and resilience to epidemics.