The current situation of the curfew and the prospect of a COVID-19 outbreak in Chocó are devastating. We at CASA HOGAR Germany eV are in constant contact with the local people and not only with the local authorities, but also with the population themselves. Laura is still in Istmina on behalf of CASA HOGAR and so we get the many personal stories and the existential needs firsthand. In view of the life-threatening situation in Chocó, which is life-threatening in several respects, we cannot and will not just wait until it is all over! That is why CASA HOGAR is committed – despite the actual focus on empowering girls and women in Chocó through education – during this extraordinary time for acute, vital measures in Chocó. We use Facebook to report as soon as possible about the latest developments and events in and around Istmina.
In the area of prevention and education, we are in close contact with the local actors and have been involved in their campaign to sensitize the population to the need for quarantine.
In the area of food security, we are working together with local authorities, traders and private individuals to support those families who are no longer able to go about their daily work due to the precautions and consequences of Corona, have no savings or receive any state aid. This applies in particular to the 40% single mothers. With the help of food packages, these families should be able to really spend times of quarantine and isolation at home and not be faced with the decision of “hunger or infection”. The primary target group are single mothers who have to pay for their children and their parents’ generation. The families live in Istmina as well as in remote rural areas. In the countryside, the need is exacerbated because there is currently no public transport connection with the city and at the same time aid supplies rarely get there. The project is handled by our project partner Fundación CASA HOGAR Istmina – part of the Istmina-Tadó diocese – and carried out in close cooperation with local committed people and authorities. This ensures that the measures really reach those who cannot be reached in any other way. (Details on the Projekt page.)
In the area of medical care, we try to support Istmina and the surrounding area in preparing for an outbreak of COVID-19. The current medical care in Istmina is rudimentary and an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus would have fatal consequences – not only for the city of Istmina with its 20,000 inhabitants, but also for the approximately 130,000 inhabitants of the more or less nearby neighboring communities on the rivers San Juan and Baudó. So far, however, the hospital has only been able to provide basic care (e.g. vaccinations). There are no protective materials, test options, isolation options or even intensive treatment in view of the pandemic. Medical devices are not working. But not only is there a lack of material – the medical staff in Istmina know and know the limits of their medical services and their personnel capacities and know that they currently have no chance against COVID-19. CASA HOGAR therefore works together with the local actors in Istminas – under the leadership of Bishop Mario de Jesús of the diocese of Istmina-Tadó and with the help of Dr. Laureano Quintero – medical expert in disaster situations and medical director at the University Clinic del Valle in Cali, where Theodor Rüber got to know him personally as a student – for ensuring that the population of Istmina and the surrounding areas also get a chance against COVID-19. On the one hand, this involves the procurement of urgently needed medical material and, on the other hand, the personal support of the local medical staff, both by a team that will fly from Cali to Istmina and provide on-site support and training, as well as virtual support a medical team of experts stationed in Cali. This not only provides material support, but also works together in terms of content. We hope that Istmina will be able to provide better health care – in the best case even with intensive care medicine – not only in the short term, but in the long term! (Details on the Projekt page.)