Sebastian Castañeda

Photographer
Covid in the Amazon
Location: Peru
Nationality: Peruvian
Biography: Sebastian Castaneda was born in Lima in 1970. He graduated from law school at the University of Lima in 1999, and since 2002, is dedicated to photography. Working as a photojournalist in El Comercio to 2014. Sebastian has done assignments... read on
Public Story
Covid in the Amazon
Credits: sebastian castañeda
Updated: 05/14/21

Covid situation in the Peruvian Amazon. Ucayali Region (Pucallpa)


Pucallpa, the capital of the Ucayali region, is also its main commercial hub and where its only hospitals are located. Since May 2020, the three state hospitals had collapsed, people died inside and outside the hospitals, the population was afraid of going to the hospital, because it was more likely that you would be left dead than alive, there was an agglomeration of patients in the corridors, and They are sharing spaces with the deceased, the sick.


The situation of the native communities of the Amazon has always been characterized by a lack of attention from the State and in the context of the covid in Peru, the situation has not been different.


In native communities, there were cases of COVID-19 infections, but in less quantity than in the city of Pucallpa, since the mandatory quarantine suspended transport between the city and the communities, infections were reported, but not a high fatality rate When the quarantine was lifted at the end of June, the situation changed and the virus moved from the city to the communities.


This historical lack of attention in the communities became more evident with the arrival of the virus, the medical posts attend during the month, one week if and another, health personnel must move from community to community, but without having medicines basic to combat the symptoms of covid-19, before this arises the Comando Matico, which is made up of native Shipibo.


They use matico (natural ivermectin, natural pain reliever), eucalyptus, kion (ginger).

The command resorts to the medicine that they have always used, which they complement with conventional medicine, but the MINSA does not provide the amount that is needed to cover the needs of the native population, nor of the population in the city.


The Comando Matico de San Francisco (native Shipibo community) has covid patients in its premises, some are new infections and others are recovered that are presenting sequelae. On my last visit to San Francisco, I photographed five patients and three of them died within two days, in all the communities there are many infections that cannot defeat the virus, deaths are reported every day.


Today the situation in the city is also becoming critical.

The head of the body collection team is reporting on average the collection of at least 20 bodies per day, a figure that is increasing. On the outskirts of Pucallpa a covid cemetery was enabled after the collapse of the old cemeteries, to date this cemetery houses more than 400 graves.


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