“Juntos Combatiendo la Anemia” (Together We Combat Anemia)

Peru is the South American country that suffers most from the world’s second most debilitating disease: anemia. With your support, Quechua Benefit has undertaken a major campaign to treat all 38 communities in the Colca Valley for parasites two times a year and cure 60-70% of all pregnant mothers and children through the 12th grade diagnosed with anemia. Our goal is to reduce the overall level of anemia in the community to below 19%.

Anemia is primarily a women’s and children’s issue.

It is present in 54.7% of pregnant highland women, and
49%of children under 6 years of age

Iron deficiency anemia can causes fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath with exertion, headaches, confusion, and even loss of appetite (especially in children). The silent consequence of anemia in children is the lack of cognitive development–it can actually cause their brain to be up to 25% smaller than an unafflicted peer!

Simple, cost-effective treatment can change the future for the women and children who receive it. For $80.00 you can provide treatment for 10 children for a year. Click here to join our campaign against anemia.


March 25-29              San Antonio de Chuca

April 1-10                    Callilli

April 23-27                 Cabanaconde

April 29-30                Picotani

May 6-14                    Caylloma

May 20-29                 Chivay

Your support is saving lives

“Health is a balance between body and mental health; it has to do with prevention, nutrition, and hygiene, and it is the responsibility of the community.”
– Quechua woman, Sibayo, Peru

Inspired by the Quechua people’s concerns, hopes, and dreams, we created a new initiative called Healthy Communities. Our recent listening tour clarified that one of the ways we can best serve these communities is by focusing on preventative medicine.

We are proud to report that we recently re-tested the children who received anemia treatment in eight towns of the Colca Valley, the cure rate was 70%.

With your generosity, we will have a massive impact on the lives of women and children. Consider that in underdeveloped countries:

  • 47% of preschool children suffer from anemia caused by parasites
  • Anemia in pregnant mothers causes premature and low birth weight babies who suffer from developmental deficiencies
  • Iron supplements during pregnancy decrease the risk of infant mortality by 40%

Our first goal is to eradicate parasitic worms and treat the anemia they cause in the most vulnerable: children, pregnant women, and nursing women. All adults will be treated for parasites to prevent reinfection in the community.

By 2020, we expect to be able to treat 48,070 Quechua people per year.

We began implementing our Healthy Communities program in September 2016. We are proud to report that we recently re-tested the children who received anemia treatment in eight towns of the Colca Valley, the cure rate was 70%. This proves that your support is healing children.


Quechua Benefit Listens: July Veterinary Listening Tour

In the highland communities of Peru, alpacas far outnumber the people who live there. In the Colca Valley, Chalhuanca sits at about 14,000’ and is home to 1,200 people and 19,000 alpacas. Outside of Puno, three towns make up the Picotani district at 15,000’: Picotani, Cambria, and Toma. Cumulatively, these towns have around 2,000 residents and 70,000 alpacas. In these communities, alpacas account for nearly all a family’s annual income. Yet, the majority have not seen a veterinarian in over eight years.

Quechua Benefit learned this in January as we conducted our first listening tour in our service areas to understand issues and concerns directly from the people we work with. Every community we visited stated veterinary issues as a top economic concern. Earlier this month, Quechua Benefit brought a team of QB staff, renowned alpaca farmers in the U.S., and Camelid veterinarians from both the U.S. and Peru to conduct another listening tour specific to the communities’ veterinary needs.

The common major themes and concerns we found were:

  • The sale of alpaca meat produced 40-65% of the family’s income, with the remainder being from fiber sales.
  • Sarcocystis, a parasitic infection, ruins the meat of older animals and affects sales.
  • Enterotoxaemia was reported to cause 20-50% of the cria to die annually.

The sale of alpaca meat is a major source of income for all the alpaca breeders we talk to.  Depending on the community, the family earned 40-65% of their income from this source.  Sarcocystis is a parasitic infection that ruins the meat. It is transmitted to alpacas through carnivores, mostly dogs.  Every community reported this as a problem that cut their family income from 10 to 25%. This was the biggest area of concern we found.  We are currently investigating a potential solution of vaccination for both alpaca and the dogs. We are researching the effectiveness, cost, and practicality of this possible solution.

Currently, alpaca meat is sold on the informal market. There is a new demand for certified meat (like USDA/SENASA) to be sold on the formal market. Certified meat commands a 30-50% higher price for the breeders. Chalhuanca has an active facility to produce meat to the informal markets. Quechua Benefit and the mayor of Chalhuanca is investigating what it will take to upgrade the facilities to be SENASA certified. This certification could significantly increase a breeder’s income, especially if Sarcocystis can be reduced or eliminated.

Enterotoxaemia kills about 20-50% of the baby alpaca (cria) each year. The exact number is difficult to determine as the disease is often confused with other causes such as pneumonia. There is a vaccine for enterotoxaemia that has proven to dramatically reduce cria mortality rates in Nunoa (another Quechua Benefit serves near Puno). The vaccine costs about $1 for the 3 required doses between the moms and babies. The biggest success was the interest from the communities in getting this vaccine and their expressed willingness to pay for it.

We are thankful to the communities to have confidence in us and to hear their issues and concerns. We are excited to work with them in the future and hopefully find solutions that have a lasting impact on their ability to move out of poverty.