Child holding precious packet of Plumpy’Nut known as the “Miracle” product. Plumpy’Nut can turn around a starving child’s life in a matter of a day or two and is frequently supplied by our hospital to malnourished patients.
While Ethiopia has been affected by the virus, we have been extremely lucky in having no reported cases in Denan itself. This is likely due to Denan’s remote location, far from major population centers, as well as the fact that most citizens spend much of their time outdoors, and there are few large buildings where people could congregate inside. In expectation that the virus will eventually hit Denan, The Denan Project purchased personal protective equipment for our staff, including masks, gloves, shields, booties, goggles, special protective gowns, and sterilizing equipment. We established isolation units in our hospital and set up practice runs with our staff to ensure that we would be well prepared in case of an outbreak. Due to financial pressures, we did have to cut back somewhat on the use of a water tanker and ambulance. Our patient load has remained stable, with roughly 2,500 patient visits each month. As at all our sites, all patients continue to be treated for free.
Women carrying roofing tiles for our health center in Uratari. Villagers from Uratari and surrounding villages provided all volunteer labor for the construction of our health center.
Peru has been hit extremely hard by the virus and has the second highest number of reported cases in South America, trailing only Brazil. The entire area of the Limatambo District has been quarantined for several months. Fortunately, no cases of the virus have been reported yet at our health center, probably because of the same extreme isolation and outdoor lifestyle as in Ethiopia. All schools, including our newly established, free boarding school, have been closed since early March when the new school year was to have begun. Schools will remain closed at least until the end of the calendar year. The Denan Project has purchased radio time so that school lessons can be taught via radio from 4:00 to 7:00PM. This is the most effective way to ensure children in the area continue with their education, as they spend mornings and early afternoons helping their parents in the fields – and because every household has a radio but little to no access to the internet or television.
In addition to our education efforts, our health center in Peru remains fully staffed with a doctor, a nurse, a nurse/pharmacist, a dentist and a cleaner. Our new micro-loan program for the growing of quinoa has produced a bumper crop. We are awaiting the sale of the crop to determine just how profitable it will be for the participants. There is a demand for added participation in this program so we are planning on increasing the number of participants starting in October when the new crop will be planted.
The two hospitals we support in Tariat and Erdenemandal have also been virus free, although Mongolia is currently seeing an increase in Covid cases. Due to the virus, international and local travel has been curtailed, which has prevented our partner Save the Children from conducting a site visit. Last year, we shared the news that The Denan Project provided seven motorcycles to enable doctors to see patients in remote herder encampments. We continue to provide funding for fuel and related costs, which allows the doctors to continue making those visits, bringing needed medical care to those who would otherwise not receive any. In recent months, we have also been working to make purchases of vital equipment, including anesthesiology equipment for the Tariat Hospital and needed dental tools in the Erdenemandal Hospital. Students in the health club in Tariat have designed their own uniforms and we are in the process of completing the purchase of those uniforms for the students.
One of our doctors bringing medical care to a young patient at a remote herder encampment.