Brazilian Service Members Combat COVID-19
By Taciana Moury/Diálogo May 27, 2020
The Brazilian Armed Forces are employing their logistics structure to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The work of service member has been crucial in fighting problems in the vast national territory with 8.5 million square kilometers. Ten joint commands, strategically activated across the country, carry out these operations.
An example of these activities is the distribution by Northeastern Joint Command of 45,000 basic food basket items to socially vulnerable people in the state of Pernambuco. Local business owners donated the supplies — more than 150 tons — that have been delivered weekly, since April 15.
The Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) deployed 30 vehicles and 350 service members from the 14th Motorized Infantry Battalion, and the 7th Field Artillery Group, in Pernambuco. “The logistics support included security, embarkation, transportation, and delivery of supplies to locations selected by the group of local business owners responsible for the donation,” said the Northeastern Joint Command’s Public Affairs Office.
EB Lieutenant General Pedro Paulo de Mello Braga, commander of Northeastern Joint Command, told Diálogo that the activity planning was a result of teamwork between service members from EB, the Brazilian Navy, and the Air Force, which are part of the joint command, as well as other sectors of the government and civil society. “The EB, our ground force, was responsible for executing the distribution,” he said.
Northeastern Joint Command is also setting up tents as screening stations at hospitals, emergency, and urgent care facilities; carrying out vaccination campaigns; distributing water to those experiencing drought; and donating blood. Service members trained in chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense are also disinfecting public spaces. “We are deployed to fight the pandemic and provide support to the population,” said Lt. Gen. Braga.
Solidarity in the South as well
At Southern Joint Command, EB service members of the 3rd Supply Battalion participated in the manufacture of face shields to protect health care professionals who provide services to patients infected with COVID-19. A partnership between the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul’s Engineering Department, which was responsible for the project, arms manufacturer Taurus, which provided its headquarters in São Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul for work to take place, and EB, which provided the manpower for production, made the operation possible
The production of the protective equipment, initially manufactured with a 3D printer, was considerably increased at the Taurus factory. According to Southern Joint Command, service members put in extra effort to produce as many shields in the shortest time possible. About 30 service members worked in the assembly process on three shifts — morning, afternoon, and night — making 3,000 face shields daily.
In total, they manufactured 60,000 face shields. The production went to health care professionals who worked at hospitals in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Armed Forces hospitals, and public safety professionals.