The Amazon Indigenous Health Route aims to promote structural changes in health systems and networks that will reduce the impact of Covid-19 on the lives, organizations and territories of Indigenous populations in the Ecuadorian, Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon.

Why Indigenous Amazon populations are at risk

In the Amazon, Covid-19 represents an increasing threat. The lack of access to health services and a proper response to the pandemic have added to the pressures that Indigenous peoples and local communities and their territories have historically faced. The effects of Covid-19 and the authorities’ limited response measures have exacerbated their existing vulnerabilities to the impacts of deforestation, logging, illegal mining, oil extraction and the constant violation of their human and territorial rights.

How the health route tackles the pandemic

The Amazon Indigenous Health Route (AIR) project is an innovative model of care based on intercultural knowledge dialogues and facilitation of multi-stakeholder processes. It brings together health public servants, indigenous organizations, academia, and civil society organizations in joint activities designed to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic in the Amazon.

The Route’s implementation is organized around four main strategies.

Strategy 1 places the needs and rights of Indigenous peoples at the center of the diagnostic and primary healthcare and telehealth networks to improve their access to care, prevention and protection measures.

Strategy 2 adapts health promotion and disease prevention approaches and materials so they are culturally relevant and can effectively foster behavioral change in target Indigenous communities.

Strategy 3 develops capacities of indigenous Community Health Promoters (CHP).

Strategy 4 expands digital surveillance capacity in Indigenous communities and links data to the formal health system.


Ecuador, Peru (Madre de Dios), Brazil (Maranhão)

Results obtained so far:

  • Development of an integrated health care network
  • Design of access routes to health centers to facilitate access for the Waorani, Shuar, A’i Kofán, Siona and Achuar peoples
  • Training activities in prevention, health and community care measures aimed at health professionals, community health promoters and Indigenous leaders
  • Development of a friendly and easy-to-use protocol with prevention and care measures with four lines of action: Family, Community, Health Promoters and Health Professionals
  • Production of graphic and educational material kits
  • Provision of 2,000 Covid-19 PCR tests aimed at Amazonian Indigenous peoples
  • First place in the SDSN Amazonia 2020 Award (Sustainable Development Solutions Network)

Impact examples 2021:

  • Design of 18 maps with access routes to health centers to facilitate access for indigenous nationalities from Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.
  • Training activities in prevention, health and community care measures aimed at health professionals, community health promoters, and Indigenous leaders in Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.
  • Technical advice and support to the Ministry of Public Health of Ecuador in the development of the Operational Guidelines for Vaccination against Covid-19 in Indigenous, Afro-Ecuadorian and Montubio peoples and nationalities of Ecuador.
  • Acquisition of tests to detect Covid-19 personal protective equipment for health professionals and community members, medical devices to support the vaccination process, and equipment minor to strengthen the health network – all in Maranhao and the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Period and budget

2020-2022: $1,589,810

Partner organizations

CONFENIAE (Ecuador), FENAMAD (Peru), Centre for Indigenist Work – CTI (Brazil)


The Rockefeller Foundation