The rise of vulnerable populations and care measures: what has been learned so far in times of the pandemic

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Daltro Moreira Iori and Ms. Karine Franco, two medical students at the University Center of Maringá. They are affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

The COVID-19 pandemic decreed by the World Health Organization in March 2020 has uncovered the fragility of the economic market and exposed, in the most striking way, the socioeconomic inequality that prevails in most societies. In the chaotic scenario caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and amidst trying to find a way out and figuring out a balance between saving lives or the economy, much has been done and much has been left aside.

In the pandemic panorama, there is a noticeable worsening of social inequalities, which mainly affect vulnerable groups such as the black, disabled, and LGBTI+ communities as well as other traditional peoples and groups².

According to the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, in Brazil, the number of citizens living below the poverty line (US $ 1.90 per day) has tripled in the last year, reaching around 27 million Brazilians. High levels of unemployment and the absence of public policies have made access to income difficult, leading to the worst scenario of poverty in Brazil in the last ten years.

However, projects, programs, and measures were taken, belatedly and unsuccessfully, by the government with the intention of alleviating this discrepancy through the social assistance policy. Additionally, the cuts in resources destined to health, education and social assistance directly affected this most vulnerable population¹.

However, what came to the surface during the pandemic was the potential for solidarity. Creating support networks for both individuals and communities, promoting intersectoral articulation between services and public policies -especially involving the population in the processes of construction- reorganization, planning, execution and evaluation of social assistance offers is to promote comprehensive care and health³.

Observations made during the first year of COVID-19 show that these actions became extremely important to reduce the losses generated. It is necessary that the Government help the population that is currently derailing into poverty, plagued by unemployment and hunger. Furthermore, Emergency Aid (a monetary value offered by the State to people in vulnerable situations) should continue to be available to the population, as a way of supporting citizens and, thereby ensuring a baseline of dignity and right to life¹.

After a year of the pandemic, much has been unraveled, but little has been put into practice. Basic health measures, such as hand hygiene, social distancing and the use of masks, must continue to be encouraged. In addition, it is essential that we ensure the right to human dignity to vulnerable populations that now more than ever, are being neglected by the government.

People who are in extreme poverty do not have the option to take care of their health. They face life or death situations daily and cannot stop working even if they are sick or working under unsafe conditions. Thus, keeping the economy going at the expense of people having to expose themselves to the virus in order to make a living impacts the very continuation of the pandemic. Overall, the economic crisis is a result of the mismanagement problem.


1. Gurgel Aline do Monte, Santos Carla Caroline Silva dos, Alves Kelly Poliany de Souza, Araujo Juciany Medeiros de, Leal Vanessa Sá. Estratégias governamentais para a garantia do direito humano à alimentação adequada e saudável no enfrentamento à pandemia de Covid-19 no Brasil. Ciênc. saúde coletiva  [Internet]. 2020  Dec [cited  2021  Apr  25] ;  25( 12 ): 4945-4956. Available from:  Epub Dec 04, 2020.

2. PASSOS, R.G. “A carne mais barata no mercado é a carne negra”: saúde da população negra em tempos de COVID-19 no Rio de Janeiro. In: MOREIRA, E. (Org.). Em tempos de pandemia: propostas para defesa da vida e de direitos sociais. Rio de Janeiro: UFRJ, Centro de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas, Escola de Serviço Social, 2020. Cap. 12, p. 90-96. (versão on-line). Disponível em:<;. Acesso em: 11 jul.2020.

3. Albuquerque Mariana Vercesi de, Ribeiro Luis Henrique Leandro. Desigualdade, situação geográfica e sentidos da ação na pandemia da COVID-19 no Brasil. Cad. Saúde Pública  [Internet]. 2020  [cited  2021  Apr  25] ;  36( 12 ): e00208720. Available from:  Epub Jan 11, 2021.×00208720.

About the author

Daltro Moreira Iori is a medical student with a scholarship from the University for All program of the Federal Government of Brazil, at the University Center of Maringá, Paraná, Brazil. Member of IFMSA Brazil Unicesumar, scientific director of the Academic League of Urgent Emergencies and Trauma of Maringá, member of the Academic League of Infectious Diseases of Maringá and of the Humanizart extension project. Researcher for the Institutional Scientific Initiation Scholarship Program (PIBIC) in the area of ​​HIV / AIDS and sexual rights and diversity, as well as passionate about public health and the entire intrinsic universe it carries.

Karine Franco is a medical student at the University Center of Maringá, currently on the sixth period. Member of American Academy of Neurology, former marketing director and member of the Academic Neurology League of Maringá, member of Dermatology Academic League and monitor of anatomy at University Center of Maringá. Infatuated with evidence-based medicine and doctor-patient relationships.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

What changes in the EU as from today

America writes-off Iran, blocks Europe’s Tehran talks

This is how to speed up ocean-climate ambition towards COP26

Statement by Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, on the successful conclusion of the final discussions on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) – Brussels, 08 Dec 2017. (Copyright: European Union; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Georges Boulougouris)

The EU and Japan seal free trade pact that will cover 30% of global GDP

The moment of truth for global energy transition is here

UN chief reaffirms commitment to untying ‘Gordian knot’ of Middle East conflict and instability

Great Reset: Why LGBT+ inclusion is the secret to cities’ post-pandemic success

Thursday’s Daily Brief: STIs worldwide, food safety and food prices, updates on Iraq and East Africa

This is how AI can help you make sense of the world

3 reasons why most Africans aren’t on the internet – and how to connect them

Are e-cigarettes as safe as they claim to be?

New citizenship law in India ‘fundamentally discriminatory’: UN human rights office

What is the Internet of Things?

Hungary has made progress on greening its economy and now needs to raise its ambitions

Conflict of interest and misuse of EU funds: The case of Czech PM Babiš

COVID-19 could widen the digital gap. Here’s what’s needed now.

Data is the fuel of mobility. Don’t spill it for nothing

Why the UK government must do more to boost green revolution

Coronavirus emergency: here’s what we know so far

Brexit: With May gone the Tory divide is to sink the UK despite Brits wanting to ‘Remain’

Turkey: MEPs cut support by €70m due to no improvement in respect for EU values

Humanitarian aid: EU mobilises over €18 million for the Central African Republic in 2019

Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ – major threat to public health says UN study

Million across Yemen ‘just a step away from famine’, with food available but inaccessible

38th ACP-EU Assembly: dialogue on cooperation challenges in Kigali

A Sting Exclusive: “Leading by example! EU must push for UN deal to avoid dangerous climate change”, European Parliament Vice-President Ulrike Lunacek cries out from Brussels

The ECB still protects the banks at the expense of the EU taxpayers

Governments, businesses ‘walk the talk’ for investment in sustainable development: UN forum

28 million elective surgeries may be cancelled worldwide: how non-COVID-19 medical care is suffering

Take action on air pollution to save lives, and the planet, urges UN chief

Renewed pressures on Berlin to adopt growth policies

Harnessing the power of nature in the fight against climate change

Aid spending fell in 2018, for the second year in a row

These are the benefits of learning a second language

Can collective action cure what’s ailing our food systems?

How supporting climate action on a local level can transform the world

EU launches €100 million humanitarian initiative to support COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in Africa

Improving Italy’s capital market will boost growth opportunities for Italian companies and savers

Is poverty and exclusion the necessary price for EU’s recovery?

The Indian miracle state pointing the way to global sustainability

EU job-search aid worth €9.9 million for 1,858 former Air France workers

How drones can manage the food supply chain and tell you if what you eat is sustainable

Nagorno-Karabakh: EU allocates additional €3 million in humanitarian aid for conflict-affected civilians

Northern Bahamas ravaged by ‘disaster of epic proportions’ as UN releases $1 million in emergency funds

Sustainable investment continues to gain momentum

EU-Japan relations: Foreign Affairs MEPs back Strategic Partnership Agreement

Asylum: more solidarity among EU member states and funds for frontline countries

Security Council hails ‘historic and significant’ joint peace declaration by Ethiopia and Eritrea

Parliament gives green light to EU-Singapore trade and investment protection deals

Lithuania finds the ways to maintain its energy security

The new EU “fiscal compact” an intimidation for all people

Let Nagasaki remain ‘the last city’ to suffer nuclear devastation says museum director, as UN chief arrives

New EU rules cut red tape for citizens living or working in another Member State as of tomorrow

“Our house is on fire.” 16 year-old Greta Thunberg wants action

This man ran across the USA to raise awareness of plastic pollution

This warehouse is one of the world’s greenest industrial buildings

FROM THE FIELD: Watering the parched farmland of São Tomé and Príncipe

Cédric in India

Why Eurozone can afford spending for growth

Early signs of growth in Eurozone?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s