PERU: Salesian Medical Clinic Provides 80 Surgeries for People in Need
(MissionNewswire) Peru faces high levels of income inequality and has more than a quarter of its population living in poverty, according to the World Bank. Poverty levels are significantly higher in rural areas but urban areas struggle most with inequality, most notably metropolitan Lima, the capital city of Peru. Poverty in the country is made worse by a shortage of productive farmland and a lack of job skills among women entering the workforce as well as a lack of adequate housing, nutrition and education.
Peru has also been plagued by hunger and disaster. According to the World Bank, close to 25 percent of children in the country are chronically malnourished. Communities continue to rebuild after an 8.0 earthquake in August 2007, which killed more than 500 people in the central coastal cities of Chincha, Pisco and Ica, and injured hundreds more. The quake destroyed close to 60,000 residential and commercial buildings, leveled hundreds of acres of farmland and left countless Peruvians without means of livelihood.
Salesians in Peru have provided life-saving support and education to poor youth and their families as well as help with rebuilding efforts. Among the first to respond when the earthquake struck, Salesians in the country were able to offer immediate humanitarian assistance. They established several new facilities offering food, shelter and education to approximately 500 children while their parents helped in reconstruction. Today, these youth centers serve as a model for expansion in other areas of Peru.
Since 2005, the Don Bosco Foundation of Peru has partnered with Ulysses Medical, a medically focused humanitarian organization and volunteer medical professionals to operate medical and surgical clinics for people living in extreme poverty in various regions of Peru. Most recently, a team of volunteer doctors performed 80 surgeries in Pucallpa, a city in eastern Peru located on the banks of the Ucayali River.
Three Italian and French doctors from Ulysses Medical as well as three Peruvian surgeons and an anesthesiologist collaborated to perform the 80 surgeries, which were primarily focused on the stomach and bladder to remove hernias and lipomas. This is the third time a medical clinic of this scale has been successfully operated in the area of Pucallpa. Two local organizations, the Lions Club and Yarinacocha Amazonian Hospital, also provided support to the clinic.
“Those living in poverty in Peru are in great need,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Many need proper nutrition, shelter, healthcare and education in order to survive and thrive. Salesian programs are working to ensure those in poverty have the resources they need to lead safe, healthy and productive lives.”
Due to the great need for medical care in the country, doctors from Ulysses Medical are planning to open another medical clinic in the city of Lima in November which will benefit close to 200 people.
“Good health is important and the more we can do to help those living in extreme poverty, without access to medical care, the better,” adds Fr. Hyde. “These clinics in Peru, like many other health clinics Salesians provide, rely on the support of volunteers and donated medical supplies so we are very thankful to our partners and those that help support our programs.”
World Bank – Peru