Peru, South America (Vocus) April 4, 2010
The Sisters of Bon Secours, a religious order in the fields of healthcare, social services, retreats and education, has recently been a part of groundbreaking and eye opening studies in the impoverished country of Peru. The study was focused on discovering the main factors that were diminishing the quality of life in the Trujillo, Huancayo, and Chimbote regions of Peru. The UAIM program is designed to address causes of infant mortality.
Sister Maria Pintado Pena, CBS, RN, explained how the Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illnesses (IMNCI) Collaborative Program study took an in-depth look at the medical services in the areas of New Jerusalem I and II, surveys of households containing children under the age of five and the measurement of physical statistics of babies born in the region.
Once results of the study were tabulated, the partners were able to determine not only the most prevalent illnesses in children under the age of five, but also the leading factors of those illnesses. According to the study, Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) make up the majority of childhood illnesses in Trujillo, Peru. These infections are caused by general contamination in their urban communities. Among the other detriments to the lifestyle in these Peruvian communities were lack of potable water supplies, a shortage of latrines and other common hygienic facilities, and electric shock due to illegal wiring bringing electricity to the regions.
The Sisters of Bon Secours and their healthcare partners visited three of the individual families who were participating in the study, attempting to learn more about the families and their greatest needs and shortcomings when providing basic needs for their children. This one-on-one approach unearthed a host of other factors that have been contributing to the decline in child health. Among the newly discovered factors were a lack of access to vitamin supplements, medicine, and low attention to crop developments which has contributed to malnutrition.
With many of their members involved directly in nursing vocations the Sisters of Bon Secours were able to develop a plan of action, in collaboration with their health partners, geared towards improving the medical landscape of the region. The United Against Infant Mortality partners are exploring mobile medical brigades to help bridge both the literal and proverbial gap between healthcare services and the local communities. Actions will also focus on educating expecting mothers about possible newborn illnesses, proper breastfeeding methods and newborn care.
About the Sisters of Bon Secours: The catholic sisters have long since had a heart for providing medical and social services to underprivileged communities since their inception in 1824. With ministries focused on nursing, medical and human services vocations, the Sisters of Bon Secours are equipped to spread wellness and God’s love throughout the four corners of the world. For more information on discerning your vocation or becoming a nun, please visit http://bonsecoursvocations.org or email: cbsvocations(at)bshsi(dot)org.