Our Stories & Our Heroes

Manati Zone I The small village of Manati Zone I sits on the Rio Manati, a tributary of the Amazon River. It’s hot and muggy. With the equator just a few miles to the north, the average temperature consistently hovers around 80 degrees.

Salud Total

Leaving a Legacy of Health for Future Generations

The people living in the village, all 500 of them, are in an isolated community about an hour’s boat ride from the city of Iquitos, Peru. Most have no measurable income and are sustenance farmers that live off the land.

Their community faces numerous environmental problems that are contributing to a variety of health complications, among them: anemia, parasites, and mosquito-borne diseases. The village leaders decided to reach out for support.

  • More about Salud Total and life in the Peruvian Amazon Basin

    The small village of Manati Zone I sits on the Rio Manati, a tributary of the Amazon River. It’s hot and muggy. With the equator just a few miles to the north, the average temperature consistently hovers around 80 degrees.

    There’s a small-town center with a church and school, with some residents selling a small amount of dry goods out of their homes – the only version of a ‘grocery store’ in the village. The houses are built on stilts to avoid the river’s flood waters during the rainy season. There are no streets because there are no access roads for cars to reach the village. Instead, dirt and grass paths travel from one building to another.

    The people living in the village, all 500 of them, are in an isolated community about an hour’s boat ride from the city of Iquitos, Peru. Most have no measurable income and are sustenance farmers that live off the land.

    Their community faces numerous environmental problems that are contributing to a variety of health complications, among them: anemia, parasites, and mosquito-borne diseases. The village leaders decided to reach out for support.

    The Introduction of Salud Total

    Having served in Peru for over 10 years, it was apparent to GHI that many outlying villages surrounding Iquitos, a city of close to 500,000, have little to no access to basic health care. While the medical mission trips through GHI provided much needed surgeries and community clinics, there was still a lack of understanding among locals about how their daily living affects their health.

    In Manati Zone I, many villagers use the muddy river water for their daily needs. The water is stored in a large cistern with a filtration system, but the filtration is inadequate. This leads to parasites and chronic diarrhea. Tests also revealed E. coli in the water. The tropical climate means that mosquito-born diseases, including malaria and dengue fever are common. Even more common is food insecurity, which contributes to deficiencies in their diet that lead to illness and anemia.

    The idea for a new approach to health education and prevention in the Peruvian Amazon Basin was conceived two years ago by GHI. This pioneering program was designed to address the medical, environmental, and social determinates of health in a holistic manner.

    Partner agreements between Centura Health, the Peruvian Ministry of Health, the local district government, Clinica Adventista Ana Stahl (GHI's partner hospital in Peru), and the Union University of Peru took several months to complete. Four University students in their final year of training (two in nursing, one in nutrition, and one in psychology) were then selected to spend an entire academic year living in the village of Manati Zone I to implement the program through targeting community-supported areas to improve different aspects of the health of the community. The students’ projects included educative hygiene and nutrition education sessions, family support and counseling efforts, and hands-on group cooking sessions, to name a few. A nurse manager was employed to oversee the project and reside with the students in the Amazon community. 

    Results from the inaugural year

    The onsite placement of medical students and a nurse to provide 24/7 health care support is one of the signature aspects of Salud Total. By living every day in the village, these students developed strong relationships with community members, while serving as mentors to solve ongoing health challenges, like the contaminated water and mosquito-borne diseases.

    The students moved in to the village in March 2017 and left in late November 2017. During this time, they helped coach the community through many lifestyle changes to improve their daily health. Of the main goals the medical students set out with, they were able to achieve a more than 50% reduction in children under the age of 5 with anemia, and a 64% decrease in the prevalence of parasites in children.

    All organizations involved viewed Salud Total as a success and are eagerly looking forward to the launch of the next group of medical students later this year.

Global Health Initiatives Heroes and Game Changers

  • Roger Cabbage and Primo Filters

    Water is the most important resource for every living being on this planet. In most modernized countries there are laws in place to ensure that every citizen has access to clean water. However, in developing countries, access to clean water can be very limited. In fact, 884 million people in the world lack access to safe water supplies. This can lead to many problems, including:

    • More than 840,000 people die each year from water-related diseases
    • Almost 2 in 3 people who need safe drinking water survive on less than $2 a day
    • In many developing countries, millions of women spend several hours a day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources
    • Every minute a child dies of a water-related disease
    • Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842,000 people every year globally, or approximately 2,300 people per day
    • More than ½ of all primary school in developing countries don’t have adequate water facilities and nearly 2/3 lack adequate sanitation
    • Clean water is one aspect of improving sustainable food production in order to reduce poverty and hunger
    • More than 80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated, polluting rivers, lakes, and coastal areas
    • By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions
    • Every $1 spent on water and sanitation generates $8 as a result of saved time, increased productivity and reduced health care costs

     

    Roger Cabbage

    These problems can be reduced in developing countries by designing a High Volume Portable Water Filter. Working with the founders of Primo Filters, the aim of our project is to develop a low-cost portable device that will allow the residents of developing areas to provide clean water to their families for drinking, cooking, and hygiene. A successful design will rid water of harmful bacteria, be manufactured at the lowest possible cost, and be easily operated and maintained by the local residents. The success of the final design will also depend heavily on its ability to include required Humanitarian Engineering concepts.