The public health crisis resulting from the spread of COVID-19 has had worst effects on the most vulnerable communities. In Latin America, an important sector of the population lives in poverty, depends on jobs in the informal economy and lacks access to basic services, health and food. In addition, the region has spent years facing the largest migration crisis in its history: more than 5 million Venezuelans have fled their country as a result of the complex humanitarian emergency.
This context represents a threat for people with HIV in the most vulnerable communities in the region and even more so in migrants, since it can hinder the continuity of treatments and affect adherence to them. Likewise, loss of jobs, lack of food and emotional problems can lead to a deterioration of the immune system.
At AFA, we continue to provide antiretroviral treatment to our beneficiaries in the region, and we are working on the development of a mobile telemedicine application in order to provide a free and reliable health services to the most vulnerable migrants and communities. This platform is a tool that will allow us to comply with the requirements of social distancing while we continue to provide uninterrupted medical care to our beneficiaries, as well as facilitating access to health services for people in rural or hard-to-reach areas.
The platform will facilitate access to comprehensive sexual health, epidemiological assistance, general medical services, nutritional assistance, and psychological support. This project is possible thanks to our partnership with Dr. Marcelo Venegas and the KnowNow Health team, with whom we work on the development and design process of the application. We are hoping the App will be ready by mid-summer.
In addition to continuing to distribute medicines, AFA has also added the distribution of food aid and personal care supplies to its programs in Colombia, Panama, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic as a mechanism to further assist its beneficiaries during the crisis.