The global pandemic that the COVID-19 virus has caused requires dramatic shifts in public behavior and brings to light the lack of preparedness our governments worldwide have in combating a public health crisis. This, coupled with the many obstacles already in place regarding sanitation and access to water, especially in developing countries and rural communities, makes navigating this crisis all the more difficult.
In response, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health (MINSA) has issued many procedures for the government to deal with the arrival of the coronavirus. These procedures coincide with the recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and include: washing hands, covering cough/sneeze, self-isolation if one becomes sick, and avoiding crowds. However, the Ortega-Murillo Government has not taken these precautions seriously, and has refused to declare a preventive quarantine, arguing that "....we do not have a positive case." This contrasts with much of the rest of the country's response including universities, banks, businesses, and the Catholic Church all of which have issued their own preventive measures.
This lack of governmental response could be detrimental to the health and well-being of all Nicaraguans. The coronavirus poses a serious threat and without proper preventative measures, the paralyzation of vulnerable healthcare systems would have a drastic impact on public health, and push people further into poverty and deprivation. In addition, it is important to recognize the variables regarding vulnerable supply chains such as poor health and nutrition, poor quality of healthcare, resource constraints, and varied vaccination rates.
According to our staff in Leon, national protocols still have yet to be put in place, even as surrounding countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama have ordered quarantines, border closings, and suspension of classes. Given this, ViviendasLeon is working to be a resource for the community.
Currently, our Agriculture Coordinator, Lesbia, has been holding daily telephone briefings with rural families to share our recommendations and best practices. In addition Agriculture Technician, Camillo, is providing socially-distant visits to check up on our rural community and support our farmers in their efforts to ensure the health of their farms. Lastly, VL will be collaborating on a mask-making campaign for our team and communities in Nicaragua.
Below are some specific recommendations specifically for the Sutiaba community that we created for all to use as a resource during this difficult time. Please continue to follow these precautions as well as the directives put in place by WHO to stay safe and help contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Wash your hands frequently
Cover your sneeze or cough
Keep your distance from others
Buy and store additional food if possible
Buy and store necessary resources
Stay at home
Please remember the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health has created a 24/7 hotline to call regarding COVID-19. To reach this hotline, you can call +50584189953.
Lava tus manos frecuentemente.
Cubra su estornudo o tos.
Mantén tu distancia de los demás.
Compre y recolecte alimentos adicionales si es posible.
Compra y almacena los recursos necesarios.
Quedase en casa.
Recuerde que el Ministerio de Salud de Nicaragua ha creado una línea directa las 24 horas del día, los 7 días de la semana para llamar con respecto a COVID-19. Para comunicarse con esta línea directa, puede llamar al +50584189953.
In an effort to create long-term solutions, ViviendasLeón is proposing a project that includes composting toilets at a rural school. The design addresses the challenges of unreliable water for flushing toilets and collects rainwater for important hygiene uses.Continue reading >