In recent days, Latin America has emerged as the new epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic. Health and funeral systems have collapsed, or are about to, due to the virus's spread. The World Health Organization reports there have already been 400,000 deaths in the region. 
 
Latin America was hit by the Covid-19 crisis later than parts of the world. By the end of March, the infection rate has accelerated sharply. As of June 9, the number of people infected with the virus had reached 1,355,981 in the 16 main countries of the region. With the severity of the pandemic expected to intensify, Ecuador has adopted measures to protect its citizens: strict confinement, closing air and land borders, declaring a state of a health emergency, and enforcing a partial curfew. 
 
Hospitals are overrun, there are very few beds and almost no equipment for severe cases. Mattresses and mats installed in hospital corridors and waiting rooms attempt to make up for the lack of space for patients. Healthcare workers in white suits, masks, and gloves move people, while many people wait in long lines outside the hospital waiting for a turn to being cared for.

This is the reality facing Ecuador and many other Latin American countries. 
Away from the capital cities, remote communities are also struggling to cope with the health emergency. In these areas, hospitals may be made up of just a handful of beds, with no hi-tech facilities. People may need to travel by boat on the river for up to two days to reach a health centre. 


Despite the unprecedented challenges, there is still hope. With hospitals struggling and are understaffed, Tearfund’s partner Compassion International, recently launched a telehealth system in Ecuador, in collaboration with doctors who are alumni of the Child Sponsorship Programme.  
 
"As Compassion, we realized that we have excellent doctors and professionals who have been part of our programme since they were children and now are great doctors and nurses who are working daily to save lives. We are proud of them," says Compassion Ecuador National Director Sixto Gamboa. 
 
Web_Version-CC-EC0-Telemedicine-10-2006-(1).jpg
When Ivia's son Caleb was sick she was very scared, but thankfully Compassion's telehealth system came to their aid.

The telehealth system aims to support sponsored children and their families who have neither the resources to visit a doctor nor the means of transportation to go to a hospital. When they call a special Compassion hotline, the families are referred to a specialist doctor who will attend to them over the telephone. 

The doctors are freely volunteering their time and skills to bless families that do not have access to quality healthcare. "I like to help, and this is a time when we must support each other and be a blessing to all children and their families," says Inés, a doctor and former sponsored child. 


"I am very grateful for what Compassion has done in my life since I was a child. Now I want to give back the support and be a blessing to others," says Dayana, another former sponsored child. 

The telehealth system has already helped more than 300 families across Ecuador, who are very grateful for the service and for the excellent care they receive. "God gave us gifts and talents so that we could serve others," says doctor Helmut, another former sponsor child. 

 

Web_Version-CC-EC0-Telemedicine-07-2006.jpgHelmut, was a former sponsor child who is now part of Compassion's telehealth system

With the success of the initiative, Compassion Ecuador plans to increase the number of doctors available to reach even more families in need.      

Many families have benefited from this service, including mother Ivia who lives in a remote community. Caleb, her two-year-old son, was feverish and vomiting for two days. Ivia felt desperate and scared. When Compassion’s church partner told her about the telehealth service, she did not hesitate to phone. 

"I was scared because there are no doctors near my house but when I called the doctor, he helped me and prescribed medicine, and in a short time my son was healthy,” she says. 

She was not the only one who received help. Maria also called the telehealth service when her son Elias was suffering from a sore throat and cough. Over the phone, the doctor assessed Elias’s symptoms and could rule out serious illness. "The doctor helped me a lot because the medicine he prescribed relieved my pain,” says Elias, “and my mom didn't have to pay anything."


 


Related posts

Sponsor gives timely gift to family of four in Bangladesh

Sponsor gives timely gift to family of four in Bangladesh

Monday, 03 August 2020 — Compassion International

The pandemic in Bangladesh has brought millions of poor families to their knees, including nine-year-old Mredula's. A timely family gift from her sponsor lifted her family out of a desperate situation.
 

Read more

Tearfund’s partner steps in to provide essentials to families after flood ravages Brazil

Tearfund’s partner steps in to provide essentials to families after flood ravages Brazil

Monday, 03 August 2020 — Compassion International

After spending weeks living in shelters due to a flood, hundreds of families from Bacabal city, Brazil, were finally able to return to their homes. However, the river waters had taken almost everything they had. Aware of the families' situation, Compassion’s child development centre distributed cleaning and hygiene kits, clothes, and mattresses to children who needed them most.
 

Read more

Tropical storm leaves families homeless amid pandemic

Tropical storm leaves families homeless amid pandemic

Wednesday, 01 July 2020 — Compassion International

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic in El Salvador, many families lost their houses in flooding and landslides when Tropical Storm Amanda hit on May 31. After being evacuated, vulnerable families were hosted inside Compassion child development centres, which provided supplies and protection from the virus.  
 

Read more

Radios help children without technology access lessons during Covid-19

Radios help children without technology access lessons during Covid-19

Wednesday, 24 June 2020 — Compassion International

When the government closed schools in Ethiopia, they told students to follow their daily lessons via the radio and TV. Yet children without the technology, like Yodranos and Kidist, missed out. It made them feel inferior and frustrated. The gift of a radio from Tearfund’s partner Compassion not only helped them catch up with schoolwork, but it also showed them that they mattered. 
 

Read more

Hygiene supplies overcome water scarcity in Indonesia

Hygiene supplies overcome water scarcity in Indonesia

Wednesday, 17 June 2020 — Compassion International

Mother of three Hana walks 2km dragging a cart loaded with 17 water containers to the nearest borehole every day. Water scarcity is always challenging, increasingly so in a pandemic when handwashing is critical. Compassion's church partner provided vital hygiene supplies and education to overcome the water shortage and protect their health. 

 

Read more

Children in poverty, Covid-19 and the global response.

Children in poverty, Covid-19 and the global response.

Monday, 08 June 2020 — Tearfund New Zealand

The impact that Covid-19 is having on the world's most vulnerable children is enormous. We simply cannot turn our backs on them. The poorest of the poor are seriously feeling the affects of this virus, causing many of them and their families to face some incredibly desperate situations.
 

Read more

Show more