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This is a non-profit organization that was started in 2004 as reported in Guidestar. The organization was patterned after the Rainforest Health Project, which was established in 1991. Licenses are in both the U.S. and Peru. Amazon Promise allows for people of remote areas of th Upper Basin of Northeastern Peru to gain medical attention. The underfunded government services offer little to no help to many villagers in the jungle and remote populations. Local training and education are given in 32 remote jungle villages. The medical supplies that are used are brought personally by the volunteers, or purchased in small drug stores. Amazon Promise has no partners or affiliations with drug companies, but works hand-in-hand with other organizations that promote sustainable health at a grassroots level, such as Girls on Top and the DiscoverHope Fund.
A small clinic was successfully opened in Belen in the slum area of Iquitos with the help of Engineers Without Borders. Over 6,000 square feet, the clinic sees over 74,000 patients from the surrounding river communities who lack the most basic amenities required for human health. Peruvians are given free medical and dental care from a team of volunteers. These volunteers range from medical students to dentists from across the world.
Amazon Promise offers many ways you can contribute to the cause. You can get involved by donating supplies or medications, making a gift in various ways, or actually volunteering on a trip. For more information on what medical supplies are needed and different ways to contribute, visit the website at http://amazonpromise.org
What you might be dealing with
If you choose to volunteer, it would be quite the adventure. Teams of 5-10 people make house calls to critically ill patients in remote areas. Travelling 200-300 miles, you will mostly travel down the Amazon River and its tributaries in a small boat, and sometimes by helicopter. Once you arrive at a designated area, 300-400 patients will come from the surrounding villages.
It is both a somber and fulfilling experience to work with Amazon Promise firsthand. Living in the deep jungles, patients are more exposed to dangers and diseases of high degrees. To more privledged people of the world, their troubles seem dramatic and scary, to the jungle villagers, it's just another day. The most frequent illnesses seen in children are bloated bellies from intestinal parasites; pronounced by the locals as "beechos". There are also many rotting teeth because the children chew on the sugarcane grown there. On many adults, leishmaniasis, or fungal rashes, are prevalent most often on the feet. This skin destruction is caused from sand fly bites. Thick swarms of insects bite the villagers often, carrying many different diseases. Other common medical diagnoses are dehydration, malaria, and giardia (severe diarrhea). There is a high infant and maternal mortality rate, so emergency ceasarian births also occur. Amazon Promise has significantly altered the mortality rate and the morale of the desolated poor of the Amazon.
- Interview conducted with James Leonard, former volunteer and board member. Feb. 27th, 5pm, by telephone. For more information you may email him at email@example.com