Read the latest news about our Preventative Medicine program on Peru Unplugged.
Quechua Benefit is Meeting an Urgent Need
Quechua Benefit has changed dramatically since its beginning, nowhere more so than in our medical services strategies. The nonprofit began in 1996 by making annual dental missions to Peru. At first, we simply pulled teeth. Next, we added medical missions and brought pediatricians, general practitioners, cataract surgeons and optometrists to Peru on periodic, two-week missions. These missions increased our visibility in the highlands. We came to know many communities and community leaders in remote areas. The relationships we formed built trust and created lasting goodwill. In 2014 we realized that to be truly effective, we needed to change our focus from periodic missions to preventative medicine campaigns delivered year-round. You can contribute to our current anemia prevention campaigns.
One of Quechua Benefit’s greatest strengths is the ability to deliver essential services over a vast geographic area directly to remote communities. The third pillar of our program for breaking the cycle of poverty is the preventative medicine initiative, which focuses on delivering medicine that cures the root cause of the second largest disease in the world: anemia.
Anemia affects more than half of all pregnant Peruvian women and children under five years of age, and one-third of school children in first through twelfth grade.
Anemia is the world’s second leading cause of disability, behind malaria. If this condition is allowed to prevail, then breaking the cycle of poverty is a nonstarter. Anemia has a large impact on social, emotional, motor, and cognitive development.
Anemia has a proven, simple and cost-effective cure. The first step is to treat the root cause: intestinal parasites. These parasites penetrate the skin through contact with animals, humans or soil. They are often ingested in contaminated food or water.
The parasites devour 25 percent of the daily nutrition consumed by their host. They cause internal bleeding, fatigue, anemia, and malnutrition. A mature parasitic worm lays two hundred and fifty thousand eggs a day.
Here’s what the experts say:
• Between birth and 5 years of age an anemic child’s brain only develops in size to 75% of its potential.
• From 2016 to May of 2019, Quechua Benefit staff and volunteers have tested and treated more than 16,639 children in 38 communities for anemia with a cure rate of 63%.
With your help, Quechua Benefit’s conducts its anemia prevention program with the cooperation of the Ministries of Health (MINSA) and Education in the Caylloma and Callalli Districts of the Colca Valley. Vitamin Angels, another strategic partner provides iron supplements and multivitamins for long-lasting health.
In the Caylloma District the average anemia level has been reduced from 47% to 25% in two years because of Quechua Benefit’s preventative medicine campaigns. Our anemia campaign includes educational materials and training presented by a professional nutritionist. We are also providing multivitamins with iron to achieve long-lasting results since it takes time for anemic children to recover.
Our goal is to reduce the overall level of anemia in our service area to below 20% by 2021. Will you help us reach our goal? Click here to donate to our anemia prevention campaigns.