Our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Internacional has made donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies to 33 organizations throughout Bolivia in direct support of their COVID-19 emergency response efforts. As we have seen throughout the world, basic protective equipment like N95 masks, gloves, and scrubs have been in high demand and short supply for healthcare workers, and we are happy to provide supplies – free of charge, as always – with hospitals, clinics, and other organizations on the front lines. Recipient organizations include all 4 emergency brigades and the 2 largest public hospitals in Cochabamba, in addition to many more individual donations. Mano a Mano has had to be strategic with the donations we are making due to our limited supplies and the high demand; we shipped 90,000 pounds of supplies from Minnesota to Bolivia in November 2019, which arrived in March 2020 right before lockdown orders went into effect. Due to Stay at Home and Quarantine orders, and the overall impact of COVID-19 on the availability of containers and the ability to ship, we have been unable to send more supplies from Minnesota since then (we have been attempting to ship since March, and have been unable to so far). We are planning to ship as soon as we are able to do so – hopefully June.

Although we have donated relatively limited quantities in order to be able to spread supplies to more places in need, organizations that receive supplies have shared their gratitude, with one doctor from Chuquisaca saying the donation was “like Holy Water.” The government and other organizations are also working on providing more of these needed supplies.

COVID-19 and Bolivia

Bolivia has been in a strict quarantine since mid-March; the current quarantine order runs through May 31st, with some “flexible quarantining” slowly starting to re-open areas of the country based on the local impact and level of risk of COVID-19. The quarantine in Bolivia is much more strict than in many parts of the world: people are required to stay at home except for emergencies, and one household member is allowed to leave their homes one day per week based on their ID number.

Source: Los Tiempos

As of May 14, there are 3,372 confirmed cases in Bolivia, with 152 deaths. The department of Santa Cruz has been the most heavily affected, with 2,163 (64%) of the total cases. Many other countries in Latin America have much higher case totals currently: Brazil has the most in the region, with over 192,000 cases, followed by Peru (76,000), Mexico (40,000), Chile (34,000), and Ecuador (30,000).

Medical Supply Distributions – March, April, May 2020

Due to the Stay at Home and Quarantine orders in Minnesota and Bolivia, most of Mano a Mano’s projects and daily programs have been on hold, but we have continued to distribute medical supplies and equipment. Below are links with more information about the distributions we have been making in Minnesota & Bolivia over the past few months: