#Logistics in the time of COVID

Dressed to Survive

A diabetic gives a rundown of the logistics involved in acquiring regular medical care during the pandemic in Brazil, where half a million people have died from Covid-19.
Débora Aligieri
Photos by Patrício Salgado

I have type one diabetes. Logistics is my thing, because we have to do and to think about many logistical matters to live well with this disease. I’m from Brazil, the country where more than half a million people have died from Covid-19 so far. This number would be higher if SUS (the Sistema Único de Saúde), our public health system, did not exist. 

SUS provides me with primary and specialized care to treat my diabetes, and also with pharmaceutical assistance.

I live in São Paulo, a city where so far 33,160 people have died from Covid-19 and more than a million and a half have been infected with the coronavirus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have stayed home because diabetics are more likely to have worse outcomes when affected by Covid. 

But I must keep my diabetes under control, and once a month I have to go to my Basic Health Unit (UBS, Unidade Básica de Saúde), where over a thousand people go every day, to receive medication and materials for controlling diabetes.

So I have to go to the UBS in such a way that I can avoid the risks of contracting Covid-19. I wear a N95 mask, glasses and a face shield protective isolation mask. I use a cloth bag that I can clean when I get home. (I always shower, clean my clothes and the things I carry). I carry in my bag my ID documents, my glucose meter, a bottle of soda (in case of low glucose), alcohol wipes and a small bottle of alcohol gel hand sanitizer. I am dressed to survive.

I’m afraid to go to the Basic Health Unit because there’s always a crowd there -- which means a risk of infection -- but at the same time I feel happy because I know that everyone (including me) is being assisted. It’s a strange feeling, a Covid-19 feeling. Fear is another face of the desire to live.


Débora Aligieri is an MSc. Candidate in Public Health at the University of São Paulo, Brazil