Since early July, Arequipa suffers from a collapse in its healthcare system due to the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases. In that same month, the rate of patients entering hospitals went from 20 per day to 180. As of today, there are more than 43,000 positive cases and between 912 (according to MINSA) and 2,447 deaths, according to SINADEF (National Information System of Deaths), in the region.
Arequipa lacks hospital beds, ventilators, oxygen, and medical personnel, among other necessities, that are scarce in many regions across Peru; a fact that became glaringly evident during the pandemic. Peru only allocates 2.2% of its GDP for health (compared to an approximate 8% in developed countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Furthermore, prior to the crisis, the country only had 2 ICU beds for every 100,000 inhabitants.
Systematic underfunding, coupled with disorganized central and local government responses to the pandemic, have left the poor across Peru to disproportionately suffer the consequences. Desperation and opportunism coexist and, particularly in Peru, it becomes tricky to find trustworthy channels of aid for those who seek to donate money, time or products.
DP Peru, an organization that provides access to health and education services, is collecting donations to support hospitals in Iquitos. To learn more and support, click here. Banco de Alimentos Perú is a nonprofit that works with businesses collecting food and personal care items that no longer have commercial value, and distributes them to those in need across Peru. They accept one-time and monthly donations, click here for more. Cáritas del Perú, a Catholic network across the country offering relief, development and social service, is providing donations during the pandemic. Click here to learn more.
The pandemic has brought about many changes and instability to populations across the world. Access to education, an already precarious fundamental right for children in Peru, is strongly under threat for the most vulnerable. HOOP Peru, an NGO based in Arequipa, wants to break the cycle of poverty through education, and their mission will not be hindered because of the pandemic.
With in-person classes cancelled until the end of the year, at least, HOOP has figured out a way to provide English classes to children from poverty stricken areas. After a quick training, and with lesson plans provided, volunteers can teach English classes via WhatsApp. If you’d like more information about how to volunteer, email HOOP at [email protected]. To learn more about the Arequipa organization and other ways to support, click here.
Cover photo: Andina
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