Atzin's health promoters - all young women from the community - responded quickly to the threat of covid19. They rolled out a three-part plan starting in mid-March 2020: community education about covid with home visits street by street; ten distributions of food packages every two weeks to 600+ families who are most in need; continued provision of medicines for those with chronic conditions; and, sewing 5,000+ cloth face masks with distribution to families. Despite difficult circumstances, their work continues.
Families depend on street sales to tourists for income. Due to covid19, the tourists vanished, along with their livelihood. Household food reserves were exhausted while food for purchase has soared in price. The smoke from cooking over open fires pollutes the air with particulate matter and damages people's lungs. The number of people who are acutely vulnerable to covid19 continues to be shockingly high because of pre-existing health conditions and nutritional deficiencies.
Covid19 is hitting the community hard - to date, the outbreak has meant many deaths in 2020-21, with no signs of a downward curve. The major emphases of the current Atzin's covid campaign are: feed the hungry and most vulnerable; support the chronically ill, those with covid symptoms, and those who have lost a family member; continue community education; and record deaths in the village with details about symptoms as reported by the families.
Given the village conditions of acute poverty with a toxic environment, covid19 entered Tlamacazapa as a viral storm. The first months of the Atzin covid19 campaign were difficult, but steady work was carried out by the Atzin team and courageous young women in the village. As the only organization that is working on covid19 in this large village of 8000+ people, our aim is to mitigate its impact and safely re-initiate other vital programs.