In our July newsletter, we reported on the corona pandemic in Nicaragua and how our partner project Los Pipitos in León is dealing with the difficult situation. In the meantime, the first wave of the pandemic in Nicaragua has subsided and the numbers of infected people have decreased, at least according to official figures. People are trying to get back to their daily lives and, above all, to their jobs. Many people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic are now looking for work, including some parents of Los Pipitos.
Overall, the majority of individuals, companies and institutions adhere to hygienic measures such as the use of masks and disinfectants. However, there is no public talk about infected people. According to official government data, 156 deaths from Covid-19 had been registered by the end of October. However, some epidemiologists and virologists estimate that approximately 7,000 people in Nicaragua have died from Covid-19, more than forty times the number (blickpunkt-lateinamerika.de).
At Los Pipitos, hygiene measures continue to be strictly observed. Masks are compulsory, hands must be washed when entering the center, distance is maintained whenever possible, and everyone’s temperature is measured using the infrared Fierber thermometer financed by our direct aid fund. Often the staff gives instructions to the parents by video call, so that they can carry out the therapy independently at home with their children. Among the young patients, there have been two cases of Covid-19 so far. A one-year-old girl with Down syndrome fortunately suffered only a mild course. A three-year-old boy with autism, on the other hand, was hospitalized for several days. He is recovering only slowly, but his condition is now stable.
The situation in the schools is also causing problems. The progress that Los Pipitos had recently made in integrating children and young people with disabilities into regular schools was halted in one fell swoop. Attending classes was too risky due to the close contact in the classrooms, so unfortunately some of the children had to be taken out of school again.
But no sooner have the Covid 19 cases dropped, so that the participation of families in the therapies at Los Pipitos has increased again in recent weeks, than the wave of influenza already reaches the country. Several children and family members of the center have contracted a fever and diarrhea disease that spreads every year during the rainy season. Due to the lack of support from the authorities, the majority of the population prefers to treat themselves without going to a hospital or health center. At the same time, the supply of medicines is still not complete.
In addition, there were two recent hurricanes: On November 16, Hurricane Iota reached the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. 21 people died as a result of landslides, flooding and house collapses (zeit.de). By the time Iota reached the León region on the Pacific Ocean, the hurricane had weakened to a tropical storm. Nevertheless, many houses were damaged here as well and there were minor floods – the therapy center was filled ankle-high with water in places.
2020 was a very difficult year for Nicaragua, Los Pipitos, the young patients and their families. As is often the case, the most vulnerable have been hit the hardest. The pandemic and its economic impact has pushed many families even further into poverty – they are now even more unable to afford therapies or medications for their children. With a donation, you can at least take that burden off their shoulders and give them access to therapies.