Delia* rubs her lower back, willing her muscles to un-pretzel. When they knot like this, both standing and sitting cause an avalanche of pain. Sometimes, not knowing what causes the pain rivals the pain itself.
Even though she’s 61 years old, Delia can’t afford to be slowed down. Countless children and teens in this vulnerable community inside Venezuela’s Capital District need her. For over thirty years, Delia’s been a school counselor here, intervening in abusive home dynamics, stopping bullying on school grounds, and identifying kids with learning challenges before she goes home to take care of her own family.
Even though Delia has had a professional career for her entire adult life, going to a doctor is an out-of-reach luxury. Since the economic collapse, widespread shortages of medicine and basic medical supplies, a lack of water, inconsistent access to electricity, the emigration of healthcare professionals, and deteriorating infrastructure have destroyed Venezuela’s public healthcare system. The private healthcare sector is too expensive for most people to access, nor do they have insurance. In 2021, an estimated 18.8 million Venezuelans out of approximately 28.2 million people countrywide did not have access to health services.
You saw this need and responded. Working with our local partner, you brought medical services to five communities in the Capital District. Through our relationships with community leaders, our community of peacebuilders secured a local space where our medical team can attend to people. During these visits, patients meet with a specialist in one of four fields: cardiology, gynecology, pediatrics, and general medicine/geriatrics, to get the care they need. If someone needs extra attention, they are referred to the health center at a university with which we partner, so they can receive ongoing treatment, MRIs, blood tests, or X-rays without being charged. The medical team usually sees 40 people per week in each of the five communities we support.
Last week, Delia had her back checked when our medical team visited her community. Because the team meets people where they are, Delia doesn’t have to spend much money or time to see them. The doctor diagnosed that Delia has a deviation in her spine, for which she needs an MRI to determine a specific course of treatment. Without your support, paying for an MRI would have been impossible. Thanks to your generosity and the support of our partner, Delia was referred to a private health facility where our partner will administer the MRI for free.
You started this project in March of last year. It was supposed to run until the end of 2022, but our partners work efficiently, so we had enough funds to provide medical services through February of this year. Thanks to you, we have resumed the project and are able to continue supporting our friends in the Capital District with much-needed medical services. Thank you for loving generously, loving anyway, and loving always.
*Not her real name
This is part two of a two-part series featuring our medical services in Venezuela. If you missed part one, click here.