Thursday morning I received an email from Diane. She has come down with a fever and she is staying in Leticia to recover. Our hopes, thoughts and wishes are with her for a speedy recovery.
Diane and Daniel also sent their first report on the state of health of the villagers. The message reinforced the need for a solution to the water contamination problems and the difficulty of changing the unhealthy sanitation habits of the people.
Here is their report:
From day one we have visited families in need of medical attention. Whilst Dani has been doing medical checks I have been taking notes and information and assisting.
32 children have been checked and treated daily . As well as 15 adults. The response to having a medical visitor was welcomed.
Many with the same symptoms of fever and diarrohea, we have seen several with severe breathing problems and chest infections, several with severe and mild skins infections. Unfortunately due to the severity of on child of four months old (high temp and diarrohea) he had to be sent to hospital thanks to a local social worker who was visiting that day. The boy is currently being looked after in Leticia Hospital.
Its been overwhelming to see this number of sick children, the majority with the same symptoms. These cases are clearly linked to the unpurified water the children are consuming and or that of the mother they are feeding from as well as the clear hygiene problems.
When talking to the families about the problems of water and explaining clearly how to prevent/reduce unpurified water e.g boiling the water first. We tend to have the same response ‘yes, yes’ but the advice is not taken this has been evident on the fourth or fifth visits to many families when the children are in the same condition and the families have stated they have not done so, when asked there is little response. We continued to stress that these measures are really important for their sick children.
We have had the opportunity to see how the majority of the villagers live by entering their houses and spending time with them on these visits. Its been alarming to see the dirtiness of the children, adults and living conditions. The children of the families we have visited have unwashed clothes which we have stressed causes illness too. The living conditions are inhospitable and its apparent this is linked to children regularly being ill with same problems.
The biggest observation which is evident to all volunteers entering the village is the large number of children with swollen bellies- a cause of parasites within their systems.
After speaking at the local meeting and speaking with families last week Dani gave a class to people interested in learning how to reduce illness by purifying water. 15 Adults attended the class as well as 13 children. We had hoped for more members particularly those in need of care however this was not the case. We hope to provide another class within on this next week.
Dani has provided medical care to 15 adults ranging from regular checkups to specific issues such as breathing problems and suspected parkinsons.
Further information will be available within our full report.
In terms of existing medical care this is lacking may people have stated a lack of knowledge of traditional medicines, this is currently being investigated with the Chamans in the village
At this stage we feel health care and the water is of the highest priority to La Libertad.
And on English Lessons
The English classes have been held daily for two hours and have been well attended by the children of La Libertad. Further information will be given in the full report.
Thank you Daniel and Diane for the exceptional work you are doing!