For the first time since 2020, volunteers from Aktion Sodis had the opportunity to visit Micani in person. The three volunteers’ return to Germany also marks the end of our emergency measures package, which we had swiftly created at the onset of the Corona crisis – initially with the aim to prevent the propagation of Corona into out vulnerable focus region, then to slow down its spreading and effects.
The measures included sensibilization campaigns about hygiene and how diseases spread as well as practical measures, like the installation handwashing stations at key points in larger communities. Trainings with specialists were arranged for local authorities and especially the medical personnel, to ensure that the measures taken in the public health sectors would be well-founded and could incorporate experiences already made in other regions. We tried countering disinformation by organizing a moderated WhatsApp group with curated daily content on the pandemic and as a platform for discussions.
Naturally, with the end of the emergency measures we ask ourselves, what impact the realized measures had? While assessing impact already presents a significant challenge in the development projects, which we focus on, the challenge is even greater for this emergency project, due to its ad-hoc nature and the project planning and management being executed under a permanently high level of uncertainty. Our established tools simply do not apply in this situation. In all honesty, we must admit, that we are not able to answer the impact question in the face of these complex circumstances. We are certain, that our contribution will have only been drops in the bucket of this catastrophe of global proportions. Nevertheless, we hope, that the measures, we have invested your donations in were well-selected and have had a favorable effect on the local situation.
The situation, that we have perceived in Micani when last visiting, was one of normality – Corona now forming part of this new normality. Ultimately, Corona did not strike the region as hard as many had feared. While the threat remains, the people we spoke to find other problems to be more dominating: the lack of economic perspectives in a region, that is disproportionately affected by climate change, malnourishment, and a generally challenging public health situation. Aktion Sodis and her local partners are committed to addressing these issues. With the end of “Micani sin Corona” our focus will, once again, lie uniquely in long-term development projects for the Andean population.
We will keep this project open on GlobalGiving for those of you, who wish to keep supporting the region of Micani in its long-term development and will soon update the project needs to reflect these new activities.
As the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, we are transitioning the Micani Sin Corona Project from a short-term project established to provide immediate relief in the Micani region to a long-term project designed to sustainably strengthen local health education and health services.
Up to now, medical loops have been successfully carried out on site. The provision of masks and the workplaces for sewing the masks for school children intended to reduce the spreading of COVID-19 among the vulnerable population of Micani district. As a side-effect, it served as a pilot project for a local women’s sewing business, hopefully leading to a steady source of income and new opportunities for a group of entrepreneurial women within the region.
Medical personnel of the entire San Pedro de Buenavista Region, which incorporates Micani, received specialized training on how to treat the new disease, given the available resources and the limited medical infrastructure at their hands. Lastly, hygiene training and construction of washing stations have worked against the spread of the virus.
The upcoming project areas are described again below, as can also be seen on GlobalGiving:
The project was established to provide emergency assistance with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and has since served to maintain and improve health status in Micani. The day-to-day burden of the pandemic has lessened, but challenges in the local health system persist alongside the aftermath of COVID-19. Our involvement in rapid emergency assistance was a premiere for Aktion Sodis, however now, we aim to refocus our activities on what we do best: long-term development cooperation projects.
Furthermore, there is a lack of solid basic knowledge about health and hygiene. Added to this is the often poor accessibility of doctors or medical facilities. Basic hygiene must be further improved to remain protected against other pathogens and to prevent them from multiplying.
With your support, the prevention work can be continued in the form of ongoing trainings in basic hygiene and sanitation practices, promotion and monitoring of sanitation infrastructure, and continuing to collaborate with the local medical staff. In this way, we are striving for a sustainable improvement in the situation on site.
The measures further serve to sustainably expand the health care system. Thus, we can prepare the local people for any coming pandemics or disease outbreaks and thereby increase their own sense of security. Your donation can make this possible. No matter how much you are willing to donate, please help - every contribution counts!
As in most parts of the world, is the COVID-19 situation in Bolivia gradually improving.
Skepticism about vaccines and the virus, in general, is still present. Employees of the health center in Micani valued the educational work by the Fundación SODIS for the work in the homes and schools in the area. Pre-existing respiratory illnesses of residents continue to be targeted for mitigation through the installation of new cooking stations and implementation of training sessions. Health center staff mentioned that Fundación SODIS reaches out to other communities that are not accessible to themselves. With the help of the Fundación SODIS, we are reaching out to other communities that were previously inaccessible to us.
What remains, however, are the consequences of the pandemic. They have also left their mark in Bolivia and especially in Micani. This is because the economic and social consequences usually affect the already vulnerable groups in particular.
Many children, especially in the rural population, missed an entire year of schooling. This is all the more alarming because the average school education in rural areas is already shortened and only a few young people are still in secondary education.
Monetary losses have also had a dramatic effect on many Micani families, since most of them do not have financial reserves and daily income is indispensable for family sustenance. As an example, the sewing factories continue to produce masks and production has been expanded to other garments so that seamstresses can continue to count on a secure income.
Against this background, the importance of sustainable and well-organized aid becomes all the more apparent. After all, building crisis-resistant systems are of elementary importance in a globalized and rapidly changing world.
As in our daily lives, coronavirus disease still plays a significant role for the general population. Despite the slow return to "normal" life, hygiene rules, education about COVID and its consequences are still important for the health of all Bolivians.
Vaccine supplies from China and Russia with the CoronaVac and Sputnik V vaccines (https://www.science.org/content/article/chinese-covid-19-vaccine-maintains-protection-variant-plagued-brazil, https://tass.com/society/1323801) are helping to return to everyday life. In general, the vaccines are accepted gratefully and with great demand. However, vaccination coverage in individual regions, especially in rural areas, is still difficult to determine and difficult to increase.
As also mentioned in this article: https://www.paho.org/en/news/13-10-2021-most-countries-americas-reach-covid-19-vaccination-target-end-year
With our help, we hope to continue to keep new infections and severe courses of disease in the Micani region as low as possible and to increase the willingness of the population to be vaccinated in order to also create a sustainable basic understanding in the area of health.
Regarding the COVID in Bolivia, the third wave is about to end.
The last cases per 7 days in Bolivia were around 1500 - here is the infographic of 07/07: https://twitter.com/LosTiemposBol/status/1412963305224814596?s=20
In Cochabamba there are not so many time restrictions and there are no more problems of trafficability between departments. Today was defined (through the COED) the new norms for the department of CBBA: https://twitter.com/LosTiemposBol/status/1413109693527072771
Vaccinations: as of 07/07, 2,204,299 people have been vaccinated with the 1st dose and 769,737 with the 2nd dose. This weekend many vaccinations are expected (from Russia, China and through COVAX) and also any person over 18 years old can be vaccinated : https://www.lostiempos.com/actualidad/pais/20210701/mayores-18-ya-pueden-vacunarse-llegan-6-millones-dosis-mas
Now as for Micani and its communities: Not many people get vaccinated there, because there is still the thought that it does not "exist" and there were also rumors that it can turn you into a "werewolf"... https://www.paginasiete.bo/miradas/2021/6/22/no-los-vacunados-no-se-convierten-en-hombres-lobo-como-aseguran-en-bolivia-298949.html
Also if a person gets infected with COVID, the mentality is that "better to die in family, than alone in the hospital". Also the locals cure themselves or self-medicate with plants and natural ancestral remedies".
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