Brazil has launched an operation to provide free health services for its thousands of migrant workers.
Brazil has launched an operation to provide free health services for its thousands of migrant workers. This means sending groups of doctors, medical officials and soldiers around the country to register migratory labourers.
SYNOPSIS: All over Brazil, men and women wander looking for work. As the country's economy strengthens these job seekers must travel from town to town. Apart from other natural hardships of life on the road, these migratory workers often cannot get proper medical treatment. Wandering from state to state, they never stay in one part of the country long enough to register in Brazil's health system which provides free help.
Mangueira is perhaps the fifth biggest shanty town near Rio de Janerio. There, as in other makeshift centres, the work was being carried out by local military police units. One of the major aims of the Government's programme was to identity cards which are expensive to obtain but mandatory under the law. The cards were paid for by Lions and Rotary Clubs.
Workers who come to the tents are fully aware of the number of diseases widespread in Brazil. Vaccination programmes help, but there is always the risk that a new virus will cause an outbreak in a poverty-stricken community.
Operation Aciso has already shown signs of controlling illnesses in other parts of the country. The idea is to complete one register of potential patients and to gives each worker an identity card.
The workers then receive a full medical check-up, which is the bait that lures many of them to the camps in the first place. They start at the dentist's van.
Then, the men and women queue for haircuts. There are more than 40,000 people at this encampment at Mangueria, near Rio de Janeiro. When the work is completed here, the vans will move on to continue the work elsewhere. Normally, workers would have to pay for an identity card but, this time, they're free. The women get a manicure and are encouraged to take up a trade in need of trainees. So there are prospects for jobs and medical aid not available before.