New York VIM Team work in Cochabamba, Bolivia:
Medical and Dental Health
Gifts from within the New York Conference have contributed to significant improvements in the health of people in Cochabamba and in rural Andean villages. Emmanuel Church has a medical and dental clinic that has served the surrounding community for many years. Conference support for this has come from such activities as having VIM teams carry medical, dental and optical supplies to the clinic and helping with construction and renovation of facilities, such as the X-Ray room built in 2005. More recently, a smaller facility was established at Nazareno Church and at the church in Cotani, a town near Cochabamba. Start-up funding was provided by the Conference to establish a program providing basic nursing care and nutritional advice in the daycare centers. One of the churches recently established an emergency medical fund to provide loans to cover emergency medical expenses, and while in Cochabamba the 2007 VIMs contributed funds to establish a similar fund at the Central District level.
Chagas Safe Houses
The most significant Conference program in the area of health is the Chagas-Safe Houses program provided through an ecumenical rural health and development organization called FEPADE (an acronym for its name in Spanish). Contributions to this program enable construction of replacement homes that will protect future generations from the debilitating and deadly Chagas Disease—a parasitic ailment transmitted by a beetle that lives in the thatched roofs and porous walls of the traditional houses in these villages. (About 85% of adults in these villages already have this disease, but they work with FEPADE to protect the children—born and unborn.) Each $500 contribution to this unique Conference program (a) provides a tithe to future church development through the GBGM Encounter with Christ permanent fund (more on that in a future letter) and (b) funds 70% of the materials for a new home with a metal roof, concrete floor and plastered walls to keep out the beetle. The villagers provide funding of the remaining 30% of the materials, not an easy task given the limited economic opportunities they have, and all the labor to build the houses. Valuing this labor at local rates, the villagers provide about 70% of the total cost of each house, but it is that critical first $500 contribution that plants the seed that grows into a village in which all houses are Chagas-safe.
(From NY Annual Conference Website)