COVID-19 Complicates Work
Thanks to the COVID-19 Delta variant, the state of Hidalgo, including our target rural work areas, is in a critical situation with increasingly limited mobility and virtually no hospital beds left for new patients.
Hidalgo struggles against the spread
According to Hidalgo’s governor, the state has registered a 300% increase in cases with every municipality reporting cases, a first since the onset of the pandemic. We’re seeing the greatest spread since the pandemic started, especially with unvaccinated youth, and it is taken only 42 days to get to this point after a relative period of stability. State and municipal governments are therefore putting in place basic preventive health measures–keeping a healthy distance, the correct use of masks and handwashing, as well as temporary closing of businesses and restaurants as well as suspending or limiting numbers at everyday activities like markets and weekly tianguis. Moreover, all public events and meetings have been suspended.
In rural, isolated areas like the Otomí-Tepehua region in which we work, access entry filter points manned by local police enforce strict sanitary regulations and limit access only to those who live in the areas or those who travel to pick up orders for handicrafts made in these places.
This development complicates our work
Amidst periodic losses of power caused by climate change-influenced, heavier than normal rainstorms, women staff and partners based in our rural work areas report how there are increased positive cases and deaths in local communities, including and increasingly with the youth population.
All fieldwork has therefore been suspended until sanitary conditions permit. In the interim, our new field corps’s Indigenous women professionals design and execute new strategies to stay in contact with the women in the communities for whom they are responsible. For its part, and pursuant to local demands relating to this health crisis and the climate change challenges, PSYDEH reconfigures our 2021-2022 COVID-19 recovery program to balance delivery of sustainable, long-term impact-focused empowerment work with short-term impact-oriented direct benefits. Despite and because of COVID-19 and climate change, we must act collectively with local Indigenous women to generate concrete social impact actions to improve daily life.
Check back in September for more on how our program responds to this crisis!