COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Testimonies from Ecuador

Posted on 3 June 2020

Categories: COVID-19

Beatriz Garcia Pluas
Director
Unidad Educativa Especializada Fiscomisional Nuestra Señora del Carmen
Québec Sans Frontières (QSF) social inclusion project

There is a lot of fear here. People believe they’ll die if they contract COVID-19. Families with handicapped children fear their loved one won’t survive the virus’s attack. Banana plantations haven’t shut down, which means that in some families at least one person is leaving the home every day, raising fear of contamination.
In our daily talks, the teachers have told me about the struggles their families and neighbours are facing, but there’s nothing we can do to help. When you have handicapped children who aren’t attending school, social distancing is hard to manage. One of our observations is that women who are staying at home are overloaded with work. People are overwhelmed. The emotional burden caused by uncertainty and fear is taking its toll.
There isn’t much to be optimistic about right now. Because of the lack of medical care and lab tests, the number of silent deaths of undetermined cause is high. People who are suffering from terrible illnesses are being neglected.

Sandra Icaza Assan
Speech therapist
Unidad Educativa Especializada Fiscomisional Nuestra Señora del Carmen
Québec Sans Frontières (QSF) social inclusion project

In my neighbourhood, people are in total dismay and drifting. On top of prevalent diseases like dengue and typhoid fever, we are living in fear of finding out we’ve contracted COVID-19.
Private practice doctors have shut their doors. Others are quarantined owing to contact with patients who have tested positive. The public health system is unable to treat patients presenting dengue or typhoid fever symptoms. Shortages of medicines in drugstores and products like vitamin C and ingredients required to produce drugs all add to the problem.
It’s hard to tell if the disease is progressing. On some days, there is clearly less traffic in drugstores, labs and medical centre portals, but is that because people are healthier or because they’ve given up on their right to health care?
Hopelessness is gaining ground. When you feel like the health system won’t budge to diagnose a loved one; when no one wants to close the burial vault for fear of being contaminated; when it looks like a family member has dengue or typhoid fever, but their symptoms don’t disappear despite treatment; when you hear that someone you’ve known for years has died and you didn’t even know they were sick…these cases have become all too common.
Be that as it may, I know that this too shall pass, and that we’ll learn from our mistakes and reunite.

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