In the second of his series of mental health blog posts, Amazon Hope Medical Programme (PMEAP) Project Coordinator Román Rodriguez talks about the Alliance for the Amazon Against COVID-19 with USAID Peru and Peruvian NGO CEDRO, looking at the achievements of this collaboration.
BLOG 2: The Alliance
The Amazon Hope Medical Programme of Peru (PMEAP) has provided health services in many river basins of the Peruvian Amazon since 2002. In 2020, with the support of two volunteer psychologists, an investigation was carried out on the socio-emotional difficulties in the communities and, based on these results, it was decided to include a mental health component in the services.
However, when the COVID 19 pandemic arrived, the programme had to be paused for a few months.
Fortunately, the PMEAP joined the Alliance for the Amazon against COVID-19, a project supported by USAID Peru and promoted by the Peruvian NGO CEDRO, aimed at the mitigation and improvement of the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic in the Peruvian jungle.
USAID provided very important financial support and CEDRO helped with technical support and the mental health professionals in the ships.
PMEAP led community participation in COVID-19 prevention and vaccination. Also, the mental health programme itself was rooted in the 2020 research that made it all possible to offer mental health consultations, socio-emotional workshops with communities, psychological first-aid training to community agents and more research, exploring the socio-emotional state in each basin served by the PMEAP.
The programme has produced intervention protocols as a mean to guarantee quality and standardised consultations. These documents were prepared in collaboration with CEDRO partners.
This collaboration was extended until September 2022 due to the important level of trust developed between the partners and the goals achieved in 2021.
The main achievements between 2021 and 2022 were:
Four mental health maps (one for each basin served) and one infographic compendium.
123 community health agents and 58 health technicians trained in early identification of mental disorders and psychological first aid.
These are very important goals because mental health services in these communities are almost non-existent and people received social and emotional support that they would not have received otherwise. All this work helped to improve their lives.
Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, the partnership could not be extended to 2023, but we hope to find new partnerships to continue with this important programme.