COVID-19  Peru Project #51546

Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon

by Project Amazonas, Inc.
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Covid-19 medical relief in the Peruvian Amazon
Amazon river house - one of many we serve
Amazon river house - one of many we serve

Our sincere thanks to all of you who made this campaign a success!  We met our goal and were able to meet many medical needs in rural communities in the Peruvian Amazon. As most Peruvians are now vaccinated, and Covid-19 ceases to be such an immediate threat to life and health, we are now re-tooling to tackle the broader spectrum of heatlh issues in the region. We will still be working to contain and treat Covid-19 of course, but hypertension, diabetes, family planning, neonatal care, geriatic medicine and many other needs haven't gone away in the meantime. 

In July 2022, we will be engaged in training 25 community health workers from rural communities on the Orosa, Ampiyacu and Apayacu and associated rivers, and in April we will be conducting our first full-fledged medical campaign on the Ampiyacu River since the start of the pandemic. We are working our way back to a new "normal", and by 2023 we expect to have our full suite of medical service trips and other activities underway again. 

As we close out the current campaign, we are starting four new campaigns, three of which have a health emphasis, while the fourth is environmentally focused.

1. Supplying medications to our Orosa River rural clinic - we need about $800 per month to meet the medication needs for this clinic which serves 10-12 communities with a total population of 3000-4000 persons (patients from another community which does have a government clinic often come to our clinic, hence the "fuzzy" numbers). Medications in Peru are a fraction of the cost of what the equivalent meds would be in the US, so although $800 doesn't seem like much, it really does amount to a sizeable supply of basic medications for treating allergies, high blood pressure, diabetes, parkinsons, wound treatment, joint and muscle pain, headache and dehydration and much more. 

2. Training of community health workers at our Madre Selva Biological Station on the Orosa River. This training is being done in conjunction with MGY organization. MGY has worked with us for several years doing such training, and this year we are working at expanding the number of trainees, and also working to supply them with essential materials (blood-pressure cuffs, thermometers, stopwatches, basic medications, dental hygiene materials, wound cleaning supplies and the like. 

3. Supply of medications for our Ampiyacu River medical expedition to Bora, Huitoto and Ocaina indigenous communities, some of which are extremely isolated with very poor access to medical care. We are looking to raise $4000 por purchase of medications in Peru, and plan to leave a medical kit with the health promotor from each community (those same health promoters will be invited to participate in the July training session)

4. With climate change rapidly reaching the crisis point, we are also working on reforestation at our field stations and with neighboring communities. We are planting and providing seedings of high quality timber and fruit trees that can be planted in marginal or degraded areas, and which serve to prevent erosion, provide wildlife habitat and serve as a long-term and living bank account for local people. We have been doing this for many years, but are planning on building better planting beds that will make maintenance of seedings much easier and which will promote survival of seedlings, particularly during dry spells. 

As always, we can't do these things without the support of people who genuinely care about our planet, the people who live here, and the environment which supports us all. Once again, our thanks to each of you for enabling us to do what we do. 

All the best!

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Medical student, Ramon, explaining toothbrush use
Medical student, Ramon, explaining toothbrush use

As we move toward the end of 2021, we are very happy to report that the Covid-19 situation in Peru has improved dramatically. With a ramped vaccination program and on-going mitigation efforts, Peru has gone from having the very highest per capita infection and mortality rate in the world to having a lower level than most of the rest of the world. During the first wave of deaths in Peru, the 7-day running average on 19 July 2020 was 700 deaths/day. During the second wave, the 7-day running average on 23 April 2021 was 874 deaths/day. On 28 November 2021, however, the 7-day running average was way down to 34 deaths/day. 

A very proactive vaccination campaign has resulted in 67.5% of Peruvians having received at least one dose, and continued mitigation efforts, including near-universal masking, social distancing, and occupancy limits have brought about the dramatic change. In "our" area in the Peruvian Amazon, the situation is even better, with only single or no deaths on recent days, and we anticipate that Peru will reach a 70% "fully vaccinated" rate by the end of 2021.

We were very heartened by the responses of all of the generous donors who donated to our Covid-19 relief efforts, particularly during the second wave of infections when the need was so great. Every Peruvian family that I know has lost a family member, and as an organization, we lost some valued friends and colleagues to the pandemic. 

Now that the pandemic has entered a new and much more moderated phase in the Peruvian Amazon, we will be starting more targeted campaigns to meet other needs that have been largely overlooked due to the pandemic. [But if the Omicron variant causes a surge of cases in Peru, we will revisit things - fingers crossed that it will not]. The campaigns and needs that we will be starting include the following: 

  • Dental care campaigns at our Orosa River clinic - we just completed a very successful campaign there from 8-22 November
  • A feminine health campaign spearheaded by Project MIA, a group of University of Michigan undergraduate engineering students who are exploring ways of producing affordable and biodegradable feminine hygiene products which can be produced using local materials and labor. A win-win for rural girls and women, and also for the environment. 
  • Provision of essential medical kits for kindergarten, primary and secondary schools througout our region of influence.
  • Reforestation at the Santa Cruz Forest Reserve, and with neighboring communities there and at the Madre Selva Biological Station.
  • Signage and enhanced conservation status for our lands at the Santa Cruz Forest Reserve - these could be at future risk due to the near completion of a major bridge and the starting of a road connecting Iquitos with the towns of Mazan and Indiana. 
  • Computer literacy initiatives in rural schools - rural students without adquate computer literacy are automatically at a great disadvantage in terms of jobs and opportunities relative to their urban counterparts - we want to balance that!

As we move into 2022, there will certainly be many more challenges to face. But with each challenge there are also opportunities. We hope that you'll check out our website (www.projectamazonas.org) to see what we are doing on the ground in the Amazon, and that you will be inspired to share the information with friends and family, and also to become even more involved. 

A hearty "thank-you" to all of our supporters and well-wishers. We CAN and WILL make a positive difference on this shared planet of ours - a planet which is so beautiful, but also so fragile. Let's take care of it together.

Evening on the Amazon
Evening on the Amazon
Devon & Padre Miguel - donation of covid funds
Devon & Padre Miguel - donation of covid funds
Teacher and children-recipients of school supplies
Teacher and children-recipients of school supplies
Dona Alicia - one of the senior citizens supported
Dona Alicia - one of the senior citizens supported

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A huge “Thank You” to everyone who made our April GlobalGiving Campaign a great success. We set out to raise $15,000 for Covid-19 relief in the Peruvian Amazon, and we met and surpassed that goal. To date over $16,000 has been raised (not everyone donated through GlobalGiving, so the true total isn’t shown on that platform). Our stated objective was to split the funds raised three ways. One-third to support the Orosa Clinic, and one-third in direct medical relief to rural communities. Lastly in honor of our colleague and friend Guillermo Guerra who passed away from Covid on 3 March 2021, one-third was designated to support Kanatari, the Catholic Diocese medical facility where he was cared for. Kanatari provides critical care to many of the most underserved and disadvantaged persons in Iquitos, and the diocese is one of the few truly trusted institutions in Iquitos.

I was privileged to meet with Father Miguel Fuertes at the Diocese offices next to the cathedral on the Plaza de Armas in Iquitos, and we completed a $5K donation by wire transfer to Kanatari a few days after my return from an administrative trip in May/June.

Myself and Father Miguel Fuertes in Iquitos (left). At center, community health workers inaugurate a first meal in the new dining hall at Madre Selva Biological Station, and at right, participate in a refresher training session.

During my May/June trip, we were also able to purchase a substantial quantity of medications to restock our Orosa River clinic. Other medications were sent to communities represented by Community Health Workers participating in a refresher workshop at the Madre Selva Biological Station. Additional packets of essential medications were distributed during a return visit to the Amazon in July 2021.

With the GlobalGiving campaign being a success, Project Amazonas is now a permanent member of the GlobalGiving community (we needed to show that we could raise at least $5000 from 40 or more unique donors during the duration of the official three-week campaign). We can now post unlimited additional campaigns for general or specific purposes on the GlobalGiving platform and will do so in mid-August. As a bonus, donors in the UK can now receive an official receipt for tax purposes, something that we were unable to do previously (US donors have always had that benefit).

A very special thank you to everyone who elected to donate on a monthly basis. Even if it is a modest amount, those modest amounts add up and really help us to plan our budgeting more effectively. Thanks!

A full report from the Peruvian Amazon was posted on our website in early July and covers other topics as well as the GlobalGiving fundraising. It can be accessed at www.projectamazonas.org/blog (or click the link below), and contains many additional photos.

 

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Organization Information

Project Amazonas, Inc.

Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Devon Graham
Fort Lauderdale, FL United States
$15,222 raised of $20,000 goal
 
153 donations
$4,778 to go
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