COVID-19 pandemic

Testimony from Bolivia

Posted on 3 June 2020

Categories: COVID-19

Jose Antonio Morales Calvetty
Dentist
TSF dental clinic, Laja medical centre

Our focus has changed ever since the containment measures were imposed in Bolivia because of COVID-19. We now only treat emergencies. We work in three- or four-day shifts, sleeping in the consultation rooms where we see our patients or in the interns’ quarters.

We have been reinforcing prevention measures and raising awareness with different tools, including the presentations sent by TSF, by telling people what they need to do to face the novel coronavirus.

Still, people don’t understand how dangerous this virus is. While they are trying to go about their daily business, we have been focusing on raising awareness and education. Fortunately, things are gradually changing. 

Just getting to a medical centre is a challenge, transportation being a two- or three-hour walk away. The cold weather and closed shops mean we also need to carry blankets and food. 

Protection equipment is lacking. In the beginning of the pandemic, we provided the biosecurity equipment. We also had access to the inventory provided by TSF volunteers and the municipality. But that still wasn’t enough.

I haven’t seen my wife and daughter for a month because I am afraid of infecting them. It’s so very sad. I feel powerless because despite our efforts to get to work, leaving our families behind, many people still won’t listen and continue to disregard safety guidelines. 

Nevertheless, I need to stay strong for my family, for my daughter, and for my friends. Keeping and sharing a positive outlook is key.

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