Following our April/May 2020 reporting on the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the Amazon rainforest region of Iquitos, Peru and surrounding rural areas, your response was truly heart-warming. Many of you were beyond generous in your support, but every donation, no matter how much, made a difference and saved lives as the world collectively learned how to treat and control the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
A very special shout-out to Young Nurses Take Action from Alberta, Canada. Although they had to cancel their plans to come to Peru, they consulted with their donors and unanimously decided to donate the funds they had raised to Covid-19 relief. Nurses truly are front-line heroes. YNTA, you rock (nurses will ALWAYS rock).
Your generosity enabled Project Amazonas, our staff, and partner organizations in Peru to:
Send critical PPE to front line workers at urban and rural clinics and hospitals, including our Orosa River Clinic, and government clinics and hospitals in Pevas, Mazan, Yanashi, Indiana, Iquitos and elsewhere.
Provide crucial medications for the treatment of patients suffering with coronavirus both in Iquitos and in rural areas.
Ensure food sufficiency for families living in extreme poverty during the height of the lock-down measures in Iquitos, Peru.
Assist with funeral costs for families who lost loved ones to the virus, and who were financially devastated by costs of trying to provide medical care to those loved ones.
Give comprehensive training to rural community health workers through a partnership with Wired International. Read more here.
The challenges were considerable, ranging from severe restrictions on movement to sky-rocketing prices for the critical medications that were available. As of the end of September 2020, however, the coronavirus situation in the Amazon has improved tremendously. For the week of 28 September through 3 October, there were only 301 new Covid-19 cases in the state of Loreto (population ~ 1 million), and NO NEW DEATHS! That amounted to a 66% drop in new cases from the previous week.
There will still be many hurdles to overcome before things get back to "normal'. Many medications and supplies remain either locally unavailable or with highly inflated prices, food prices have skyrocketed, and most families are in deep financial distress. Many children, particularly in rural areas have lost the better part of, or an entire year of schooling (the school year runs from mid-March to mid-December).
As we all anxiously await an effective vaccine, Project Amazonas will continue to do all we can to support the communities and the people that we serve in the Peruvian Amazon. But it is each of you, our supporters, who deserve the credit and the thanks. So a heartfelt thank you, thank you, thank you and thank you!
With 2021 just around the corner, we have already scheduled our medical volunteer opportunities abroad for 2021 through 2022.
16 March 2021 update:
On the one-year anniversary of a declaration of emergency in Peru, the country is now grappling with a second wave of coronavirus infections fueled by new viral variants, in particular the Brazilian variant. EVERY family in Peru has been impacted - either through the loss of one or several family members, or through the severe economic impacts of the pandemic. Your continued support will have more of an impact than ever.
Above: Dr. Colin Burke (UK) interacts with young clinic visitors in Lagunas on the Nanay River.
Above: Local children receive some tutoring at the Santa Cruz Forest Reserve
Below: A Project Amazonas medical team at El Porvenir ("The Future") on the Nanay River