Drought in the Semiarid Region of Brazil: Exposure, Vulnerabilities and Health Impacts from the Perspectives of Local Actors

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Aderita Sena, Carlos Freitas, Patrícia Feitosa Souza, Tais Alpino, Marcel Pedroso, Carlos Corvalan, Christovam Barcellos, Fernando Carneiro

Introduction: The objective of this study was to understand and assess the perception of communities, organized civil society, health professionals, and decision-makers of several governmental institutions, regarding vulnerabilities and health impacts in drought prone municipalities of Brazil.

Methods: This study was carried out through a qualitative investigation in eight municipalities in the Brazilian Semiarid region. Data collection was done through semi-structure and structure interviews, and discussion with local actors, which included communities groups, health professionals, governmental managers and organized civil society.

Results: The results point to the local actors’ concerns and to the fragility of the health sector in the planning of integrated actions directed towards risks and impacts associated with drought conditions on human health.

Discussion: The lack of a specific knowledge contributes to making invisible the process that determines the impacts of drought on health, leading to an acceptance of drought in those municipalities, reducing the capacity of the health system to respond to droughts.