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CCSS Strengthens Health Surveillance in Indigenous Areas

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To date, people from the eight indigenous peoples of the country receive care in 17 of the 105 health areas of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) throughout the national territory.

According to the “Area of analysis and projection of health services” 4% of the total of ebáis formed give health care to the indigenous population, which are located, for the most part, in locations of difficult access. 

The main infrastructure used for the health care of indigenous peoples is the periodic visit posts (PVP). The CCSS has 64 PVP for this objective throughout the national territory, which represents 10% of the total PVP as of June 30, 2020.

The ebáis (Basic Teams for Comprehensive Health Care) move using unconventional means of transport (horse, boat or on foot) to provide care to these populations, often with difficulty of geographical and cultural access.

The transfer to the posts of periodic visit implies approximately 222 hours per month and approximately 845 hours per month of attention are invested among all the PVPs; that is, for every four hours of attention, one hour of transfer is invested.

In 33 ebáis offices and in six area offices, a direct approach is also given to indigenous peoples. These buildings are not necessarily all located in indigenous territory, although efforts are made to facilitate the provision of primary health care services.

The previous investment reduces existing inequities in health and improves access for these vulnerable groups to the various health services provided by the institution.

In addition, it seeks to comply with international regulations (Convention 169 of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries) and ratified by Costa Rica (since 1993), which establishes the care of these indigenous populations in their territories.

“In this context, the institution makes important efforts to make the provision of health services for indigenous populations increasingly relevant and timely,” says Dr. Kenia Quesada Mena, coordinator of the Standardization Program for Health Care in native populance.

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