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Photo Credit: Compassion Ecuador
Photo Credit: Compassion Ecuador
Photo Credit: Compassion Ecuador
Photo Credit: Compassion Ecuador
World News

As coronavirus cases surge in Latin America, virtual doctor visits from Christian charity provides lifeline

by Tola Mbakwe

Latin America has emerged as the new epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 5.3 million cases.

In the past week the region has 44 per cent of global coronavirus deaths. It amounted to 18,300 out of 41,500. 

Many countries within the region are struggling with poor healthcare systems and economic divides, including Ecuador where hospitals are overrun and understaffed. 

In response to this crisis, Christian child sponsorship charity Compassion Ecuador launched a telehealth system in collaboration with doctors who were once sponsored children themselves.

Away from the capital cities of Quito and Guayaquil where public hospitals have reached capacity, 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 X-ray facilities. People may need to travel by boat on the river for up to two days to reach the nearest health centre.

Ivia with her son Caleb, who received treatment through the telehealth initiative, outside their home. Photo Credit: Compassion Ecuador

The new telehealth system aims to provide vital support for Compassion sponsored children and their families in Ecuador, who have neither the resources to visit a doctor nor the means of transportation to go to a hospital. When they call the specially set up Compassion hotline, the families are then referred to a specialist doctor who will attend to their needs over the phone.

Compassion Ecuador national director, Sixto Gamboa told Premier Christian News: "Whenever they need medicine, pharmacists make it available for the children so that they don't have to go to the main cities to take care of that of their situations. 

"At the moment we have about 1,610 beneficiaries including pregnant women and babies from our survival program. 

"At present we are connected with 17 provinces out of that 24 provinces in Ecuador, and in more than 80 places we are able to connect and help them.

We are attending to Covid-19 plus other health issues as well."

The doctors are freely volunteering their time and skills to assist families that do not have access to quality healthcare. 

Inés, a doctor and former sponsored child said: "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."

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

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