Belen is a native community at our project site in La Merced, Peru. We have been working with them for just over a year on sanitation issues, improvements to their water system, and on general health education sessions. Last week, our team took the opportunity to bridge the gap with medical care. Our staff and volunteers, in conjunction with medical professionals from the local health post, all brought health care to the community.
As is common in many native communities in the area, there is a lack of trust between the health posts and the local community. There is a very long history that creates this lack of trust, so many community members won't go into the local health post to receive treatment. After working for nearly a year on building good relationships with the community, gaining their trust, and also working with local health care officials, we decided the time was right. Staff spent weeks coordinating the efforts, and as a result, they were able to bring health care to the community. In the span of a day, 3 nurses, 1 doctor, 1 dentist, 4 FIMRC staff members and 12 volunteers all traveled to Belen to make sure that every community member was able to receive quality treatment. They provided consultations, dental checks, tested for parasites and did anemia analyses. There was, of course, health education included as well!
It was a brilliant day that brought together two populations that have struggled to trust one another in the past. It was so brilliant, in fact, that on Saturday, those who tested positive for parasitic infections headed to the health post to receive their first round of treatment. Slowly but surely, we're bridging the gap.