As a public health professional, I have always been interested in health care systems in Latin America, specifically with a focus on health disparities.
I have volunteered most of my life, while working full-time. I enjoy volunteering and have done so for many years. I had stopped for a while to reflect on my next opportunity, what I wanted to do next. Recently I came across The Tandana Foundation website and read about what they do and their mission. When I talked with Maria Jose, (the Ecuador Program Manager) I thought this was perfect for me as I would get a first-hand view of health care in Otavalo, the available resources, and types of care that the community receives.
Nayeli Anrango, a member of the Panecillo community, received medical care through Tandana’s mobile clinics in October 2018 after experiencing several epileptic episodes that caused seizures, falls, and loss of consciousness. According to the doctor that saw her, this was a case of child epilepsy and she needed to see a neurologist.
Thanks to sponsorship by the O’Donnell Visiting Educator Program and the Center for Global Studies at Whitman College, Associate Professor of Biology Leena Knight and Founding Director of The Tandana Foundation, Anna Taft (Whitman ‘02), organized a course titled Health in Ecuador and Mali: Pandemic, Race, Culture that took place remotely this fall for Whitman College students.
You stand behind Jaime Muenala’s cement farm house in the majestic foothills of volcanic Mt. Imbabura in northern Ecuador, gazing in awe down the clifflike trail to the green terrace below, and then you find yourself asking the obvious: “Do you go up and down THAT to get to your fields?” Jaime smiles slightly and says, “Si.” In fact, daily. And not just when farming. Continue reading “High hopes: one man’s determination to overcome the obstacles before him”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, The Tandana Foundation has been supporting our community partners in Mali through conducting education about prevention measures, assembling and distributing hand-washing stations, and providing supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) to a hospital and local health centers. Members of the Tandana team have also recorded a radio broadcast with public health information that has aired across the Bandiagara District. Below three community leaders share the impact of this work and express their gratitude for the foundation’s support. Continue reading “The impact of Tandana’s COVID-19 response in Mali”
When you live in the high Andes of Ecuador at an altitude of 9,000 feet, where your eyes are subjected to intense solar rays, cold winds blowing off the peaks, and the thick volcanic dust that that for thousands of years has grown the staple foods of corn and potatoes, a film can begin to grow over the eyes, rather like a cataract, severely diminishing your vision. Luz Maria Campos and her husband, Luis, began to realize that something was not right with her eyes, although they didn’t understand exactly what was wrong. Continue reading “Medical care from the heart that never gives up”
The Tandana’s Foundation’s Patient Follow Up Program helps patients who have visited the health care clinics the foundation organizes in rural Ecuador to access additional care they may need from lab tests to specialists, surgeries, and eyeglasses. In the above video, one patient, Tania Fuerez, who utilized the Patient Follow Up Program, expresses her gratitude for the support she received from Tandana. Through the program, Tania was able to help gain access to surgery to remove a tumor in her jaw, which alleviated the pain and discomfort she was feeling. Continue reading “‘They help me, without me giving them anything’”
The Tandana Foundation will be holding its 26th Health Care Volunteer Venture (HCVV) in rural highland Ecuador from October 5-12, 2019. Since 2007, when Tandana began partnering with the indigenous communities in the region to host mobile health clinics, volunteering medical professionals and their local counterparts have provided for 11,968 patient visits. This includes providing needed medical, dental, and vision care to at least 6,614 unique patients and conducting 5,709 pediatric checkups. Continue reading “The significance of Health Care Volunteer Ventures – by the numbers”
Below, Virginia Sánchez, Patient Follow-up Coordinator for the Tandana Foundation, shares the story of Richard and how generous Tandana donors were able to assist him to hear.
In November of 2015, we (Tandana) had the opportunity to learn about Richard, a young man from the community of Panecillo, in the parish of Quichinche, Ecuador, who, through his mother, desperately sought support from a non-governmental organization to obtain a left foot prosthesis, but first let me tell you his whole story. Continue reading “A new opportunity for life”
Maria Rosa Castañeda is one of many patients who have benefited from the Tandana Foundation‘s Patient Follow Up Program in rural communities of Ecuador. After seeing a doctor during a Tandana mobile clinic, she was referred to a specialist for her hearing impairment and ended up having surgery that changed her life. In the video, Maria describes her struggles stemming from not being able to hear before receiving the surgery, and the emotional moment when she woke up from the surgery being able to hear. Watch the video to see the incredible emotions Maria shows, and read a transcript of what she said in the blog post below.Continue reading “Eyes opened through hearing”
The Tandana Foundation has a health care program called the Healthcare Volunteer Venture (HCVV)- a program in which the foundation brings groups of volunteers (both skilled and unskilled in the medical field) from the United States and Canada to provide a phenomenal mobile clinic in some of the indigenous communities of Highland Ecuador. The program happens twice a year, and the foundation held its 23rd and 24th mobile health care clinics in April and September of 2018.
Visiting the picturesque highlands of Ecuador enriched by the local culture, and inspired by living and working with community members is sure to cultivate creativity. Such was the case for a participant of a recent Health Care Volunteer Venture trip organized by the Tandana Foundation. While sharing her medical skills as part of a team providing medical care to local residents, Dr. Swati Biswas crafted a poem about her experience as a HCVV volunteer, which she presented to the group on the last day of the trip. In the beautiful lines of poetic verse below, Swati creates a unique picture of life in Ecuador, as she reflects on all that she has seen and done, and the people she met along the way. Continue reading “A health care volunteer’s experience, told in poetic verse”
In the rural communities of the Quichinche parish, getting access to medical care is not always easy. Residents often wait long amounts of time to receive support and assistance through Ecuador’s public health system. Twice each year, the Tandana Foundation‘sHealth Care Volunteer Venture teams and staff from the public health centers visit these rural communities to provide primary care to the local residents. Tandana’s Patient Follow Up Coordinator then works with the patients who are referred for additional care, advocating for them in the public health system. It is our goal that, through this process, patients learn how to use the system on their own. In the following videos and translations of their transcripts, three of these patients explain in their own words how the HCVV visits helped them receive needed medical support and more. Continue reading “Going beyond medical support”
Through its health program in Ecuador, The Tandana Foundation works with the Quichinche Subcentro, a rural health center in Ecuador, to support its work caring for the people of the parish. Tandana collaborates with its staff to visit the more distant communities, to follow up with patients identified during these visits who need additional care, and also to support the staff’s health education work. The following is the story written about a recent collaboration by the director of the Subcentro.Continue reading “Assisting a health center in providing services to the community”