November 21, 2017 - Peru
Lindsey Becker Mills
"Find the right people, and you can build anything.” – Dr. Martina Fuchs, Founder and CEO of Real Medicine Foundation
The RMF Perú team started with just 2 volunteers sent to assess the level of need after a massive earthquake in August 2007, and in December of that year, RMF opened Policlínico Peruano Americano in its permanent location of San Clemente, where it continues to operate successfully today.
Most recently, there have been six months of flooding and landslides in Perú, with very little international media attention. Joining together to help, RMF Perú’s team members collected mattresses, bedding, furniture, chairs, tables, food, and drinking water among their families and friends, and distributed these supplies to families in affected areas, particularly La Tinguiña, a sector in Ica.
After receiving funding from a generous donor, RMF Perú implemented a larger flood relief outreach, traveling to some of the most heavily affected, small mountain towns north of Lima and providing medical and psychological support to more than 10,000 people. In an interview with Ruth Betsabe Solis Mamani, a pharmaceutical chemist who worked for RMF during the flood relief program, she details what it has been like for her to work with RMF to help the community.
Are you local to the community?
Vitarte (a district of the Lima province of Perú)
How did you become involved with RMF?
My mother went to RMF for a medical consultation and I listened to Mrs. Magali say that they needed someone who specialized in pharmacy. I came to put into practice my knowledge, to learn, and to gain more experience.
How long did you work with RMF Perú?
What was it like to build this program?
It began with the event of natural disasters (mudslides) in these zones that are located in Huarochirí province of the Lima region, and other areas like Lurigancho-Chosica with annexes San Antonio, Quirio, Barrio Obrero, Libertad, and others. Here, the people needed medical attention to have a better quality of life and to keep working day by day in their personal lives.
What is an average day like here?
The medical attention begins at 8:00 a.m. in the morning, when all the workers are already at their respective posts, from the nurse to the technician. The nurse is taking information about the patients who arrive and check in during triage so they can be taken to the doctor. The doctor or the patient begins to describe the ailments. Once the doctor has evaluated the patient and prescribed the necessary medication, the patient goes to the pharmacy, where they are registered, given the medications, and told how to take them.
Do you have the resources you need to treat your patients?
Yes, there were all the resources necessary to treat patients who went to consultations. They were even given insect repellent so that they could avoid, in some cases, being bitten by mosquitoes and others. Also, they were able to give away blankets to withstand the variant temperatures and water so that they can fight the lack of water since the mudslides broke the pipes that carried the water to their homes.
What do you need to better help them?
Continue with RMF’s work in Perú that helps people who are far from a health center, hospital, or other centers that provide medical attention. [We need] to go to other places that are practically very far from the city, where there is no concern shown for the villagers’ health.
How are staff members handling the large numbers in multiple locations?
Giving free medical attention, psychological help, and free medicine so they can be treated for different diseases that are present in each patient or person who comes for a check-up.
Please share a story of helping someone as an RMF staff member.
In Chosica, Quirio, I had the opportunity to go and see an elderly lady. She lived alone in a place that was completely uncared for. She had a nephew who came to see her when he could. But, according to the neighbors on either side, she lived there uncared for and completely abandoned. She could barely get up to feed herself. We brought her a jug of water, a blanket, and mosquito repellent. She was very thankful.
What is your message to anyone reading this?
We have learned to fly like the birds, to swim like the fish, but we have not learned the art of solidarity, humanity, and helping our brother. They are very important means for the human species to be united in the face of great responsibility, and “the strongest bond of human sympathy should be to unite the people of all nations and all languages."
RMF remains committed to the people of Perú, and our staff has worked tirelessly to provide quality, affordable healthcare and much needed supplies to those who have been affected by the natural disasters. We believe in working together to build an in-country team whose central focus is to empower people to live healthy lives through prevention, education, and access to quality healthcare.
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