Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.
The urban slums of Lima, where SES began and has its headquarters, is home to more than 4,500,000 people, including some of the region's poorest and most uprooted urban populations. Immigrants arrive daily in search of jobs and education – anything to earn a living. They settle in the dry, dusty hills, building unheated shacks in a swelling community served by only dirt roads and almost completely lacking in basic public utilities, such as water, electricity and sewage.
Our project takes place in Lima Este and Lima Ciudad which together comprise a contiguous health region with the highest incidence rates of HIV in Lima. In these areas, HIV-affected families face many barriers to health services, as well as food insecurity, HIV-related stigma and gender inequality. The precarious situation of these households is further stressed as family resources – both emotional and material – are poured into caring for the sickest family members. In addition to medical problems due to HIV and malnutrition, the developmental needs of these children (including parental affection, stimulation, care-giving, and schooling) go largely neglected.
The Peruvian Ministry of Health (MOH) provides free Highly Active Anti-retroviral Therapy (HAART) to adults and children, based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Available services include psychiatrists, psychologists, peer educators, mutual support groups and community-based resources, although professional mental health services are costly and basically inaccessible for the poor. Neither HIV-affected nor HIV-unaffected children are routinely screened for NDD's; therefore, only children with the most significant developmental delays are treated by psychologists and physical therapists at tertiary or secondary centers.
Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project
Socios En Salud was founded to fight Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) in Carabayllo, Peru in 1996 as Partner In Health's sister organization by a group of doctors at Harvard Medical School who had been working in rural Haiti. Drawn by the struggles of Father Jack Roussin, a close friend from Boston who became sick with TB and could not access proper treatment services, Dr. Paul Farmer and his team began treating MDR patients out of a little shack-like clinic in Carabayllo. Since then, Socios En Salud, working closely with the Peruvian MOH has successfully treated over 7,000 TB patients.
In 2004, the MOH asked SES to apply their community-based model for care to Peru's growing HIV epidemic. Since 2005, our dedicated team of community health nurses, psychologists, and health promoters have been delivering care and social support for HIV + families in the slums of Lima with the mission of providing a preferential option for care to the poor.
Today, we focus our actions on healthcare access as a right for excluded families and communities through action-based solidarity. Using community-based models, we work in Lima's poor neighborhoods doing whatever it takes to fight disease, poverty and injustice.