Loreto, Peru—On June 8th, the First Indigenous COVID-19 Command formed to address the urgent needs of COVID-19 patients in primary health care and amongst indigenous communities in Loreto. The Command includes representatives from the Peruvian Ministries of Health and Culture, the Regional Government of Loreto, the Peruvian Federation of Indigenous Peoples, and communities including Achuar, Ashaninka, Awajún, Kandozi, Machiguenga, Shipibo, Urarina, Wampis, and Yanesha, among others. The Command is the first of its kind to be established at the national level.
Command members met at the headquarters of the Regional Government of Loreto to formalize and sign an act committing all parties to urgently implement support to strengthen health services throughout the region, with a focus on primary care in indigenous communities.
The Minister of Health, Victor Zamora, traveled to the meeting in Loreto carrying 33,000 community masks, 7,000 COVID-19 tests, and protective equipment for health professionals to distribute throughout the Region.
Representatives of the Peruvian Federation of Indigenous Peoples stressed the need for the Region to invest and act urgently in safeguarding the most vulnerable populations—namely indigenous communities whose isolated positions make them particularly susceptible to devastation from the spread of COVID-19.
The Regional Governor of Loreto, Elisban Ochoa Sosa, applauded the initiative of the Response Command and acknowledged the importance of joint representative action to implement efforts in confronting the pandemic.