4273.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - Board 5

Abstract #12638

Health at the grassroots level: The case of Brazil's landless movement (MST)

Denise Perpich, School of Public Health/Latin American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90024, 310-313-6313, perpich@ucla.edu

The Movimento Sem Terra (MST - The Landless People's Movement) is a grassroots organization that has been working to settle landless families in Brazil for over 15 years. Although the Brazilian Constitution of 1988 states that all Brazilians have a right to unused land and health care, Brazil has one of the worst Gini coefficients in the world, a measure of the gap between the rich and the poor. The MST, long an actor in the struggle to promote social justice, is now working to provide health care to their constituents. They recently added a health care sector because they realize their responsibility goes beyond merely securing land titles. They are experimenting with innovative strategies to provide local, direct and cost-effective health care to their members. Conditions of settlement areas are comparable to those of refugee camps. People live in unsanitary and crowded conditions lacking access to safe drinking water and medical services. The MST's health program attempts to tackle these health problems. The trained workers help identify the major health concerns in the settlement areas. These range from informing the members of their health care rights, arranging transportation to the nearest city for medical care, performing simple epidemiological surveys in regards to communicable illnesses in the community, and cultivating and preparing medicinal plants.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, the participant in this session will be able to: 1. Identify the innovative strategies the MST is incorporating into their settlement areas. 2. Analyze the potential long-term sustainability of their efforts

Keywords: Latin American, Rural Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA