I have heard a lot of wonderful things about Ecuador — a popular vacation and adventure travel destination for students, backpackers and families. But, during my time interning at AmeriCares, I have also learned that when you look beneath the surface, Ecuador is a nation whose people struggle with chronic poverty and its accompanying consequences.
About one-third of the world’s population does not have access to needed medicines and basic health services, mainly in developing countries such as Ecuador. The country’s health care institutions often lack the necessary medicines and supplies to provide their patients with life-saving and life-sustaining treatments, resulting in deaths from treatable diseases and handicaps from chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
One of the leading causes of death in Ecuador is heart disease — although malnutrition, respiratory disease, malaria and diabetes persist in remote regions where access to healthcare is limited. This is where AmeriCares makes its impact. In addition to supplying in-country partners with ongoing aid to support health care, AmeriCares responds to natural disasters in the region, including the severe floods in 2008 that affected eight of the nation’s provinces. AmeriCares delivered medicines and supplies to support medical camps, and relief items including blankets and other necessities to help people living in shelters.
From 1987 to June, 2011, AmeriCares provided over $24 million in medical assistance including medical aid to support more than 1 million patient visits per year, ranging from primary and maternal care to pediatrics and mental health, improving the overall well-being of the community.
AmeriCares work in Ecuador is part of its Global Medical Assistance Program. Through Global Medical Assistance, AmeriCares delivers essential medicines and supplies to medical facilities and partner organizations in underserved communities worldwide, including prescription and over-the-counter medication, nutritional supplements, surgical and wound care supplies, hospital supplies, and diagnostic and laboratory supplies. AmeriCares’ well-established partnerships and networks around the world include over 2,000 hospital, clinics, outpatient programs, hospice and rehabilitation centers and homes for children and the elderly.
Find out more about AmeriCares in Ecuador here.