Epicentre shifts to Latin America

The epicentre of the Covid19 pandemic has shifted to Latin America and the Caribbean. All of the communities surrounding our NPH homes, clinics and hospital have reported cases of Covid19.

Brazil has seen the biggest impact of Covid19 so far, in large part due to a lack of leadership from the top. Jair Bolsonaro continues to deny the severity of the pandemic, which has resulted in Brazil surpassing the UK and Italy’s death tolls.

Most other countries in Latin America have tried to apply lockdown restrictions. However, these efforts have been hampered by a lack of social security, forcing desperate families to risk contagion in order to get food on the table. With over 50% of the region’s work force being in the informal sector, and many without bank accounts, it’s a difficult task to get help to those who need it most.

Listen to our Director’s interview on Rhema radio, regarding the pandemic in Latin America.

Healthcare systems across the region were largely underfunded and stretched to the limit before the pandemic. With so few ICU beds, let alone ventilators, oxygen, PPE or Covid19 tests, the pandemic has made medical professionals fear for their lives.

In many countries, such as Mexico and Haiti, there is a real stigma against healthcare workers, as people fear contagion. There have even been reports of violence being shown against healthcare workers.

Our NPH St Damien Paediatric Hospital is the only hospital in the whole country which is accepting children with Covid19 symptoms. Many other clinics and hospitals have simply shut down as they lack basic PPE. This has put extra strain on our hospital which also provides essential services to pregnant women, babies, malnourished children and cancer patients.

Dr Brice says, “When we have a patient who dies it is difficult to know if it’s a case of Covid19. We have no tests.”

Our NPH family are battling the health crisis at the moment, trying to keep our children safe, especially those with underlying conditions. Our NPH homes have taken on unexpected costs as a result of the pandemic such as PPE, extra medicine and higher pricing of food. This is coupled by a decrease in funding, as the global recession hits our supporters hard across the world.

While we face difficult decisions regarding budget cuts, we have hungry families lining up outside our homes, asking for food. It feels cruel to have to cut back on essential services, when the need has never been greater.

If you’re in the position to help us care for the 3000 vulnerable children that we support, please help us here: www.nph-nz.org/donation