Objective: To describe sanitary, social and environmental conditions that are significant for health of residents in the Iauaretê Indigenous Area in Brazilian Amazonia, notable for its population concentration.
Method: Qualitative and quantitative methodologies were used, with the action research method deployed mainly for qualitative approaches, through community meetings with tribespeople and researchers in the villages constituting the hub of the Area. Talking maps were prepared and interviews were conducted, together with studies of solid wastes disposal techniques, in addition to locating, sampling and analyzing the quality of water used for human consumption, in parallel to the use of geo-referencing techniques.
Results: Of the 65 water samples analyzed, 89.2% presented fecal coliforms, with no adequate sanitary solutions found for the disposal of solid wastes. From the public health standpoint, the sanitary practices of these indigenous peoples caused concern, clashing with their own relative knowledge.
Conclusions: The specific set of problems associated with the way of life imposed by mainstream society requires the implementation of joint activities in the infra-structure and health education fields in order to solve collective health issues, stressing local community participation.