Brasilien: Albertina Duarte Takiuti

I do not have to sleep to dream; I dream while I am awake.

— Albertina Duarte Takiuti

Albertina Duarte Takiuti (1946) is known as one of the best gynecologists in the country. She participated actively in the implementation of Paism (Program for Integral Assistance to Female Health) and of the Program for Integral Assistance to Adolescents. Her work has the goal to transform health assistance into a right of all citizens.

Albertina Duarte Takiuti was not even ten years old when her parents left Portugal and moved to Brazil. Her parents wanted their children to escape from the Salazar dictatorship and from the war in the African colonies. A cousin of Albertina lost an eye in Angola. He told Albertina that the worst part was the other eye that saw everything. In Brazil, she would discover other wars: the military dictatorship (1964-1988), childhood mortality, domestic violence and the difficult access to quality health assistance. She participated in the student movement and was almost extradited. She was scared for her children's safety. In the hospital where she worked, she illegally helped patients who had been exiled from neighboring countries that were also under dictatorship, and she helped also Brazilian women who were being persecuted. “One day, cops came looking for a patient and I hid her in the bathroom.” With the return of democracy, she played a main role in the creation of public health policies, especially for women and teenagers. She set up programs to include the Quilombolas (descendents of fugitive slaves), indigenous people and the Sem Terra (no land–movement that pressures for land reform). Today, she coordinates an integral health assistance program for adolescents, and she has very clear ideas of how to help girls protect themselves from Aids and early pregnancy. “A teenage pregnancy is not only precocious in age, but also in the relationship that the girl has with her partner and in her commitment to a project for her life.” Albertina is also a part of the Brazilian Woman's Center, an organization that has world peace as one of its main concerns. She affirms that we need to engender actions of solidarity towards women living in areas of armed conflict. “We have to know what is going on and help them.”

Projeto de Apoio à Mulher e ao Adolescente–Secretaria do Estado de Saúde de São Paulo Centro da Mulher Brasileira