Official figures report more than 7,000 deaths in Perú during the last week. Conventional belief is there are many more deaths undercounted. For all intent and purposes, systems are beginning to fail: Oxygen is challenging to find and expensive, hospitals are at capacity, and people are overwhelmed.
It is hard to know the best way to help. Over the past couple of weeks, I've been on several phone calls, exchanged a multitude of WhatsApp messages, and corresponded through email with various stakeholders. The consensus - there is no consensus around the best way to help the situation in Perú.
There is, however, one critical insight rising to the surface of all my conversations and correspondence - planning for the next phase. Perú is in the midst of an incredibly challenging period - and this will not suddenly change. The challenges of healthcare services access and economic inequality did not start with the pandemic. For decades, these challenges have been woven into the fabric of Peruvian culture and society. Crafting sustainable solutions to these challenges can begin in the context of the COVID pandemic. Still, there is a need to build a structured approach to addressing these complex issues well into the future.
All of this talk about balancing the immediate needs of the situation with the long-term solutions for change got me thinking about what we - Health Bridges - can do to help. It got me thinking about the role we are best positioned to facilitate.
We don't have an answer yet.
All I know is this - for over two decades, we have been working to build bridges in Perú. Our efforts have led to the development of a model for training healthcare professionals in neonatal resuscitation training, advanced child welfare services and crafted a holistic approach to working with families living in the experience of poverty with a child living with a disability. Our work is about creating connections and helping to structure an approach.
We have an expression we use a lot when describing how we operate. We call it the "processes in parallel" approach. It means we hold ourselves accountable to the here-and-now, all the while envisioning the more enormous, more future impacts.
Whatever we do next, we will drive our work through the philosophy of processes in parallel - helping respond to underserved communities and people's immediate needs, all the while considering the long-term strategies for lasting change.
The pandemic is far from over. Our work is only just beginning. Stay safe. Be well. Stay connected. Thank you.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.