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Health Hum Rights. 2016 Jun;18(1):221-234.

Indigenous Child Health in Brazil: The Evaluation of Impacts as a Human Rights Issue.

Author information

Chief of the Gender and Cultural Diversity Unit at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, Washington DC, USA.
Cultural Diversity Advisor at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, Washington DC, USA.
Specialist on Family and Community Health at the Brazil Office of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, Brasilia, Brazil.


Improving the health status of indigenous children is a long-standing challenge. Several United Nations committees have identified the health of indigenous peoples as a human rights concern. Addressing the health of indigenous children cannot be separated from their social, cultural, and historic contexts, and any related health program must offer culturally appropriate services and a community perspective broad enough to address the needs of children and the local worlds in which they live. Evaluations of programs must, therefore, address process as well as impacts. This paper assesses interventions addressing indigenous children's health in Brazil, ranging from those explicitly targeting indigenous children's health, such as the targeted immunization program for indigenous peoples, as well as more generalized programs, including a focus upon indigenous children, such as the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness. The paper discusses the tensions and complexities of ethnically targeted health interventions as well as the conceptual and methodological challenge of measuring the processes employed and their impact. The lessons learned, especially the need for countries to more systematically collect data and evaluate impacts using ethnicity as an analytical category, are drawn out with respect to ensuring human rights for all within health sector responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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