Motorcycle ambulances to the rescue
Residents of select rural communities in Paraguay now have access to mobile medical care
By Rosanna Menchaca, communications manager, Paraguay
JUAN DE SALAZAR, Paraguay — Children gather in a circle smiling and waving as an odd looking motorcycle rumbles in front of the school. The motorcycle, specially outfitted with equipment — including a mounted stretcher, oxygen cylinder and first aid kit — comes to a stop. A tall doctor steps off and greets the excited crowd.
The customized motorcycle ambulance, one of two made possible through Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) donors and local partners, Fundación Dequeni and Fundación Alda, serves rural communities in Finagrain and Juan de Salazar.
In these rural areas in Paraguay, families struggle with healthcare accessibility due to deteriorated roads, and limited public or community health services nearby. “This is a spectacular support for us,” shares Dr. Diego Barreto Urquhart, director of a local Family Health Unit. “The roads are impassable with a regular car. Our family visits were always made on foot, and walking takes us all day to come and go. Sometimes we’d end up attending to only one or two people who had been bedridden for days.”
He continues: “One mother has two children with cerebral palsy. She couldn’t carry both children, so only one child could follow his treatment. That’s changed. [In addition to our work in the health post], in the past nine months we’ve attended to around 280 people, did five health campaigns, reaching around 2,500 people, and held 36 health workshops for 2,520 children.”
"When [the ambulance] goes to schools it takes medicines to the children. I want to thank Canadians, because they care about us."
- Lorenza, 10
For children attending school in Finagrain, approximately 12 kilometres from the main road, the ambulance is a welcome resource, making it possible for trained professionals to deliver vaccinations and other health services. In the past, teachers had to make the long, treacherous journey with a student using their own motorcycles.
Now, more than 4,660 people in Finagrain and Juan de Salazar can depend on a quick medical response and improved community care.
About Christian Children's Fund of Canada:
Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-focused international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For more than 50 years, CCFC has been helping children and families of all faiths move from poverty to self-reliance. CCFC supports children and communities in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nicaragua and Paraguay. Currently, CCFC has almost 50,000 children sponsored, benefiting nearly 400,000 people around the world.