Friday, September 29, 2017

Life in a Catastrophe: Nurses on the Front Lines

Damaged infrastructure limiting transportation...
No access to clean water...
Inconsistent access to gas for cooking, and no electricity...
A poor population with limited means to make rapid improvements or access needed cash.

This is a new reality for so many people after the catastrophic damage of recent hurricanes and earthquakes in the Caribbean and Mexico.

It is the constant reality for so many people in Provincia Los Andes in Bolivia where the AAVia Foundation funds programs through the School of Nursing at Pucarani.

I recently blogged about how important and cost-effective hand-washing is, and why it is such an important part of the program we fund. Nursing students and professors lead a remarkable program, Clean Hands, Healthy Schools program (CHHS), where they have designed education materials and developed lessons to use with children and parents to teach the WHO hand-washing method as well as dental care.

Green: Area of CHHS program reach around Pucarani in Year 1.
Red: Area of CHHS program reach after Year 2.

The province of Los Andes, from Pucarani to the shores of Lake Titicaca, is rural, with little development. It is off the beaten path as it sits separate from the capital city of La Paz and is wedged apart from the routes even tourists might take from the Peruvian border, through the lovely lakeside town of Copacabana, and across the Altiplano to La Paz.

Only 17% of the homes have running water. The arid land of the Altiplano limits farming options. Most all the roads are dirt and stone, limiting transportation. Homes often cook with propane tanks and depend on when, or if, trucks make a delivery to the rural area. A large number of children have intestinal parasites. And with the poverty and limited resources, intestinal and respiratory infections are common. This often leads to missed school, malnutrition, underweight children, stunted growth, and too often, death.

The Clean Hands, Healthy School program is that important: it saves lives.

Nursing student teaches children to wash hands well in Igachi, Bolivia, 2017, with CHHS.

The School of Nursing at Pucarani not only provides professional training for so many in the region, an effort that pays dividends, it also reaches out to the region where they are needed, and is helping the children and whole community survive even as they face a constant catastrophe.

And that is why we are so proud to partner with them in the effort!

Please help with a tax-deductible donation to the AAVia Foundation and, if you are in the area, join us for our 4th Annual Gala on Friday, October 13 at Casa Larga Vineyards in Fairport, NY.

-- Timothy Malia, MD
Medical Director & Co-Founder, AAVia Foundation for the Health of Bolivian Children

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1 comment:

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