Helping to improve people’s health far beyond civilization
Project Title: Medical Crusades in Amazonas
Period: 2008 – 2012
Location: Peruvian Amazon rainforest
Sponsored by: Amazon Action
We used to travel from Iquitos city to our jungle lodge in Yanayacu through Amazon River. We frequently visited several river towns and realized that they didn’t have any health services. As part of our social activities, we decided to start small campaigns to bring free medical treatment to those communities. We called volunteer doctors and nurses who joined the initiative. These foreign medical volunteers brought also medicines to treat the patients.
Many curable diseases become deadly in remote areas. There are communities so far away that reaching the nearest city takes several days. In the absence of any type of road, the trip has to be made by canoe or by boat. Local people often turn to shamans for medical treatments. They possess knowledge of medicinal plants of the forest and do successfully treat minor illness, but they are not trained to make diagnoses or treatments for complex diseases.
There are many dangers to health in the jungle, such as snake bites, yellow fever, dengue and work accidents in activities like agriculture, hunting, fishing, and construction. I heard about a man from our town who incredibly lost his arm when attacked by a caiman while fishing. Infant mortality rate is very high. Often parents in the jungle don’t want to attach too much themselves to their babies for fear of losing them. That continues a chain of lower self-esteem that starts in childhood.
There is always need for health care in isolated communities of Amazonas. Helping there is a big challenge, but the rewards are also big. If you are interested to bring health to inhabitants of the river villages in some way, contact me. By helping the less favoured, we can provide more meaning to our lives.