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After five months of a pandemic in the country, the indigenous territory of Chirripó has not registered any person infected with covid-19.
Social Security courtesy photo.

Published Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Cabécar doctors provide
home medical attention 

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Ten doctors from Social Security, nine of them are Cabécar natives and one is a permanent resident in the area, will provide home medical attention to a population of 7,500 members of the Cabécar tribe located in the Chirripó area.

The Cabécar indigenous territory in Chirripó is located in the mountainous area between the districts of Turrialba in Cartago Province and the district of Matina in Limón Province.

Doctors must travel the mountain by rivers and cable or hanging wooden bridges to reach up to four families per day. "Some part of the journey can be on a quad bike, but then they must cross rivers and difficult roads up the mountain for hours," Social Security said in its statement. "There is often more than an hour between one house and another."

Primary health care physicians carry supplies, food, and a kit of vaccines that will be applied to patients.

The main goal of home health care attention is to provide vaccination, care for pregnant women, medical care for the rest of the population, in addition to providing information about the pandemic, said Gustavo Ugalde, the chief nurse of the indigenous zone.

Specialists also inform the Cabécar indigenous community about the hygiene measures that must be taken due to the pandemic. In that area many families are completely isolated and do not know anything about what is happening in the country that could affect their community.

According to Social Security, indigenous people call covid-19 the new disease of whites, not theirs. For this reason, doctors advise them to:

- Stay within the indigenous territory.

- Follow orders from health authorities.

- Seek help for their care outside of traditional indigenous medicine.

According to Social Security, the doctors have met with the local community leaders of the Integral Indigenous Development Association so that the leaders can help with the dissemination of maintaining hygienic preventive measures in the communities, especially since families often meet in communal activities. "These encounters can be a possible source of contagion, for that reason they were given information on precautionary measures, such as keeping their distance and washing their hands to avoid the spread of the virus," Social Security said.

So far, according to Social Security, after five months of a pandemic in the country, the indigenous territory of Chirripó has not registered any person infected with covid-19.

However, if a case is eventually registered, a shelter has been implemented by the Association for Indigenous Development. They would be in charge of transferring the patient to the nearest medical center, either in Cartago or Limón province.

Health authorities increase medical care in indigenous areas to prevent the spread of the contagion of covid-19 in those regions. However, according to the most recent report from the Ministry of Health on Monday are 484 new covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 15,321 active cases.

What strategies are the health authorities in your country developing to support the indigenous territories during the pandemic?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to


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