To call this an extraordinary time feels like a giant misrepresentation. From a public health standpoint this may be the biggest challenge to global healthcare planning and infrastructure in over a hundred years. From a social and cultural perspective - what is going on around the world is unprecedented. COVID-19 is the biggest disrupter the modern world has ever seen.
Now, what does this mean for Health Bridges and our work with marginalized populations in Perú? For us - the call to action has never been louder. We are shoring-up care plans and support for the families in our Ines Project and the children living in the Casa Girasoles. We're working with our staff, partners and collaborators so they have accurate and reliable information to make sound decisions. We're also working to postpone, cancel and reconsider travel, meetings and projects For us, COVID-19 means business as usual is no longer business as usual.
However, most importantly - we are cautiously and methodically building care plans for supporting the many people we are called to serve. This is complicated. It means carefully considering a number of very complex scenarios. Scenarios like those of Sra. Rosa who has four children, one of whom is enrolled in the Ines Project.
Pablo, 12 years old, is living with cerebral palsy and tuberculosis. He spends everyday in bed. Rosa, a single parent, is unable to work as she must care for the constant needs of Pablo. What little work she can pull together is selling food from a table on the side of the road. The less than $2 she makes a day are all the family has outside of the support she receives from the Ines Project. The family lives in an area of Lima high in the sand hills. The only road to their house is dirt. They share a house with three other families - living in a small room in the front with only two beds cramped together. With schools closed around the country of Perú for the next 3 weeks, Sra. Rosa is now balancing the daily care needs of Pablo and his three siblings.
Our focus is helping Sr. Rosa and Pablo and the whole family - have the support and resources they need in this very challenging time. We are delivery care packages, assuring communication by providing phones, arranging care plans, making house calls with the Ines Project physician and nurse, and advocating with the families for longterm strategies to meet their life needs.
The challenges of COVID-19 are only just beginning. With an estimated 70% of the Peruvian population employed in the "informal sector" - not working for a few days will have devastating impact on a familys ability to survive. In the southern hemisphere, as the season changes and flu, coughs and colds become more prevalent - the needs will become much greater. We are carefully and thoughtfully working to build the bridges that will assure people like Sra. Rosa and Pablo have the support they need.
Please consider making a donation to Health Bridges. Now, more than ever, we need your help to continue doing the work of supporting women and children living on the margins of society. We need your help to build more bridges. 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.