COVID-19 update: April 27, 2020

Dear friends,

We want to thank everyone for their support and concern about the people of Guatemala during this time. The NHI team continues to work from home and gratefully are in good health and spirit. 

Guatemala Update

45 days ago on March 13, Guatemala detected its first case of Coronavirus and we are now on day 43 of social distancing precautions. There are currently 500 confirmed cases, 49 recovered cases and 15 deaths as of last report April 26th.

To see more information, you can view information from the Ministerio de Salud Pública’s website.

How Guatemala is dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic as of Monday 27th April:

  • #quedateencasa: Social distancing is encouraged for ALL
  • There is a curfew of 6pm to 4am apart from health personnel and delivery services
  • Only essential businesses can open and smaller businesses can open with strict hygiene and prevention protocols
  • Public transport remains on hold
  • Persons older than 60 are required to stay at home and not receive visitors
  • Pregnant women and children are not to go to populated areas such as the market
  • It is Mandatory for everyone to wear a mask when outside of the house, including inside a vehicle.

What are some of the effects of this on Guatemala?

Guatemala was already a country experiencing economic and social inequalities. Now with the COVID-19 pandemic, these disparities are soaring. Food insecurity is not a new concept here, however the sheer number of people being affected is rising faster than can be supported. The government is providing some support with care packages and cash bonuses to those families registered, but a lot of indigenous and poor families are unregistered and unemployed. 

As health professionals, we are aware how important social determinants of health are on health outcomes and that the essentials such as having access to a safe place to sleep and access to food are the most basic of human needs. We are facing an even bigger crisis than before and when it is safe to continue our work here, Nursing Heart will be needed more than ever. 

How are we helping support our partner communities during this crisis?

During this public health crisis, Nursing Heart cannot be visiting any communities providing our usual health screening services. For this we have decided to pivot our focus to meet the current public health needs of our community partners. Our first step with our re-tweaked mission is to provide support to the most vulnerable populations; The elderly and those with chronic conditions. 

Diabetes and Hypertensive Club

Nursing Heart is continuing to hold an abridged version of the Diabetes and Hypertensive club every month by supporting the members with medication distribution under strict hygiene protocols.

The members of the club, most of whom are above the age of 60, will be some of the first recipients of the food and care packages that will be delivered in the coming weeks. 

‘Hogar de los ancianos’ 

The home for the elderly in San Martin Jilotepeque will be part of the first group to receive this aid. This initiative has come from us remaining in contact with our community leaders and analyzing their situation, identifying where they need support. Blanqui has been in communication with the nuns who run the home and they have expressed that they rely on local donations of food to survive. Due to the economic struggles facing most people, the donations of food and supplies have reduced or stopped all together.  

What’s in our care packages? 

We are providing a month’s supply of fruits, vegetables, grains, personal hygiene products, and cleaning products including alcohol gel for the whole family. For the aged care home we are also providing adult diapers. 

If you are able to give a gift of a care package, just $50 provides enough food and hygiene products for a family for a month. Thank you and be well,

Jade Parker-Manderson
Executive Director

Srs. Carolina and Erika run the care home in San Martin.