Under quarantine, going where we’re needed most

MSI United States
Jun 24, 2020 · 2 min read

On the border between Bolivia and Chile, hundreds of migrants were quarantined at an isolation camp near Pisiga. But COVID-19 wasn’t the only health risk they faced: many were living with sexually transmitted infections, and some adolescent girls were pregnant.

It was clear that the migrants in Pisiga needed sexual and reproductive healthcare. So MSI Bolivia coordinated with the local government and the Plurinational Service for Women to bring vital services to people in the camp.

MSI team member talks to migrants in Pisiga

Over two days in May, MSI Bolivia got to work providing services to 446 migrants. They offered information about reproductive health and provided free contraception to women and men who wanted it. They also reached out to medical personnel from the nearby towns of Pisiga and Huanuni, training them on sexual and reproductive health.

For people in the camp, access to contraception meant one less thing to worry about while they wait to return to their communities. The program also ensured that in the future, they’ll know that MSI Bolivia is a safe place to go for reproductive healthcare.

“It is a successful program because it came at a needed time and for free. We request that work be done in the municipality of Sabaya, regardless of the camp,” said the Sabaya’s Municipal Mayor, Pablo Villca Viza.

MSI team members at the migrant camp.

Silvia Velasco, National Coordinator of Clinical Quality for MSI Bolivia, echoed the sentiment: “We ensured that migrants who are being repatriated learn more about their sexual and reproductive health and that they can access our services once they return to their localities in Bolivia through any of our service channels located in a large part of the country.”

For Ana Cecelia Velasquez, Country Director of MSI Bolivia, the program at the Pisiga isolation camp reflects MSI’s commitment to reaching marginalized women. “Migrants are a highly vulnerable population in general and in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic even more. This is why Marie Stopes Bolivia mobilized to get to where they need us the most.”

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