Eugenio Scannavino Neto graduated from medical school with a specialization in tropical medicine. He has worked as a rural doctor in the remote Amazon since 1984 and in 1987 he created the Health and Happiness Project, which works with more than 150 forest communities (30,000 people) in the Tapaj's river basin, in the Brazilian Amazon. The Health and Happiness Project works with programmes to support participatory and integrated processes of Global and Sustained Community Development, managed by the population itself. Eugenio is Founder of the Amazon Working Group, GTA, which congregates 650 entities of traditional peoples of the Amazon. He is also Author and Director of the Amazónia Brazil exhibition, is a Consultant in Mobilization and Community Health, and Diagnostics and Participatory Social Planning in communities in Brazil, Venezuela, India and the Philippines.
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- Saúde e Alegría
- Non-profit Social Enterprise
- Forests; Youth Perspectives
- Areas of Impact
- Latin America, Brazil
Saúde e Alegría
Eugenio Scannavino and his brother Caetano created Saúde e Alegría to reach isolated communities living along the Amazon rivers in western areas of Santarém, Belterra and Aveiro in the state of Pará. The objective was to support participatory processes for sustained community development. Its strategy is based on community organization and self-governance, respect for people and their culture, and belief in their ability to contribute to economic and social development.
Saúde e Alegría supports communities that undertake this process by forming cooperatives, identifying market-oriented activities, educating the community on conservation, and developing partnerships with the public and private sectors. This is done through: securing land use through protected areas; health and sanitation interventions; educational and income generation programmes focused on community empowerment and individual emancipation, with attention to minorities like women and children.
The result of Saúde e Alegría’s healthcare activities show that 100% of families have sanitation; 98% of children are immunized; and infant mortality has dropped to 18:1,000 (from 48:1,000 in communities where Saúde e Alegría is not active). Through its education and communication programme, illiteracy rates have decreased and young people are taking part the Mocorongo Communication Network, which runs community radio stations and produces and distributes newspapers, videos and television programmes.
The north of Brazil remains a major health access challenge, especially in rural areas. Traveling requires long distances, sometimes only by river; public sewage investment is very costly and low; transportation and communication infrastructures are poor and a hindrance to any action in the region. In 2006 Saúde e Alegria started a “boat hospital” in the Tapajós basin using a development programme focused on family health. It reached 73 communities and provided services to about 2,800 families with 15,000 beneficiaries. The Saude e Alegria model of “river family health” as public policy was adopted in 2010, when the Health Ministry passed a bill allowing municipalities to acquire “hospital boats” of the Saúde e Alegria model. A second hospital boat will start operating in the Arapiuns basin as a pilot provision of this public policy.