Mano a Mano staff and volunteers in Cochabamba have been busy organizing and distributing medical supplies for distribution throughout Bolivia. The four containers shipped from St. Paul in November arrived at our warehouse in Cochabamba the day before the country’s borders were closed due to the coronavirus. Since that date Bolivia has implemented strict social distancing measures: those over 65 or under 18 must remain in their homes at all times; others may send one person per household to purchase groceries or medicine one day per week; no one is allowed to leave their homes on Saturday or Sunday. Only the military, police and medical personnel have exceptions to these requirements.
Staff from 2 of our counterpart organizations – Mano a Mano Internacional and Mano a Mano Bolivia – have received permission to sort and distribute urgently needed supplies related to coronavirus patient care. Maria Blanca Velasquez Urey has taken the lead on this effort. She began by getting police to escort her to the warehouse so she could retrieve masks for immediate use by hospitals in Cochabamba; since then, she and other Mano a Mano Internacional staff, along with 3-4 volunteers, are working at the warehouse during the day and sleeping at the Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA) dormitory at night.
Hospital personnel from Santa Cruz, Potosi, La Paz, and elsewhere have traveled to Cochabamba to pick up the supplies that Mano a Mano has sorted and prepared for them. Bolivia has 264 coronavirus cases as of April 9, with 18 deaths. There are only about 32 ventilators in the entire country. The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely challenging for most of the world, and Bolivia is no exception.
Distributing Supplies for La Paz and Arbieto
The two videos below are recent distributions of donated medical supplies and equipment to healthcare organizations in La Paz and Arbieto. The majority of orthopedic supplies we receive come from Goodwill; we are extremely grateful for the partnership!
Distributing Food in the Neighborhood
Food availability in Bolivia is becoming more of a challenge because transportation has nearly come to a halt within the country. The CEA staff have been onsite, harvesting vegetables, gathering eggs, butchering animals that are large enough, and sharing this food in the surrounding neighborhood.
Medical Supply Distributions – March & April 2020
Below are links with more information about the distributions we have been making in Minnesota & Bolivia over the past month:
- Mano a Mano Will Be Closed Until May 4th
- Mano a Mano, Our Medical Supply Program, and COVID-19 Updates
- Distributing Donated Medical Supplies in Cochabamba
- Donating Supplies to Hospital Cochabamba
- Donating Supplies to Red Cross Potosi
- Distributing Supplies in Bolivia – March 2020
- Sorting Supplies from Minnesota for Distribution in Bolivia