The first meeting of the Advisory Council of "Black Women´s Right to Health", a project run by Conectas Human Rights in partnership with Geledés - Instituto da Mulher Negra (Black Women´s Institute), was held on August 28. The council is formed by health and legal specialists working in the areas of racial and gender equality. They are academics and representatives of other non-governmental organizations, such as Alaerte Leandro Martins of the Rede de Mulheres Negras (Black Women´s Network) the state of Paraná, Fátima Oliveira of União Mulheres Brasileiras (Brazilian Women´s League), Leila Linhares Barsted of CEPIA (a human rights NGO), Lúcia Xavier of Criola (a black women´s organization), Maria Betânia Ávila of SOS Corpo (a gender equality organization), Simone Grilo Diniz of Coletivo Feminista de Sexualidade e Saúde (Feminist Health and Sexuality Collective) and Sueli Carneiro of Geledés.
The meeting was held to discuss the fundamental role that the Advisory Council should play. "The ideas put forth by the councilors enabled us to reconsider and reformulate some aspects of the project. This reformulation is crucial when it comes to producing evidence of racial discrimination in the health services, which illustrates the inequalities in healthcare access to which black women are subjected", explained Laura Mattar, who coordinates the project.
Another important contribution refers to the public oversight of health policies by the black women involved in the project. It was decided that the project will work together with the official public oversight mechanisms of the SUS (Brazil´s public health service), namely the municipal and state Health Councils. Prior to the meeting, the project was planning to work outside official circles, in the so-called "rights centers".
The project, which is now in the final stages of producing its publications, which were distributed to the councilors at the meeting for revision, will shortly be embarking on its next stage, mapping the health situation in the eastside of the city of São Paulo, more specifically in the neighborhoods of Cidade Tiradentes and São Mateus. This analysis is expected to make it easier to verify the demands existing in the region and in the area of health to be provided for by the project.