COVID-19 in Rural & Marginalized Areas, Episode Three
On April 21, Mexico entered Phase III of its contingency plan to fight COVID-19. Many parts of the Republic have already been under full-or partial quarantine for a month. Pessimism about the future and depression increase, and focus on human rights, social solidarity, and human dignity is spotty. In areas where information is accessible, people learn to do the basics explained in THIS informative video to flatten the curve. This is not necessarily the case in rural communities.
In these areas, there is generally no internet, inconsistent, and sometimes limited-to-no access to electricity and phone signal. News arrives several days late. And families are preoccupied with caring for their animals and preparing their farmland for the coming rainy season. The COVID-19 crisis is not the same for everyone. In episode three, we share local data points on our target region, as well as some relevant sources of helpful information from around the globe.
MEXICO & HIDALGO
The Mexican federal government COVID-19 portal offers the most current data on the virus’ spread. At the Hidalgo state level, HERE, the government offers statistical data and lists measures and actions to be or are already being taken. For example, today, the state issued the first NO CIRCULATION rule in memory restricting car travel for an indefinite period of time.
Of course, data is data. One of the many challenges Mexico and rural areas confront is a paucity of data and/or correct data. For example, the Mexican federal government explains that one of the municipalities in which we work, Tenango de Doria, now reports a positive case. Whereas, the state registry does not. This inconsistency is not trivial. In a place like Tenango where there are limited health services and high numbers of vulnerable people, getting this data point correct is important. On April 29, Tenango’s municipal president clarified the situation in THIS Facebook live video.
Otomi-Tepehua region citizens can visit their local government portals to find information on COVID-19 in your communities.
Unfortunately, we find this data is not updated regularly. And, so, please review your local press, for example, this article on how Otomí-Tepehua region indigenous populations are coping and COVID-19, OR this article on how Nahuas in Acaxochitlán doubt COVID-19.
Global resources on rural and marginalized and indigenous communities and COVID-19 are uncommon but do exist. We suggest these from the last two weeks.
- THIS Spanish language video on the physiology of COVID-19 is excellent
- In early April, the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (MEDPI) issued a public call for government authorities around the world to increase efforts to sensitize indigenous communities on the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its risks to their vulnerable populations. As noted above, many still doubt the virus and others like communities in New Mexico, USA are scrambling to navigate the spread.
- The USA-podcast, “Hidden Brain”, offers an interesting episode on how cultural differences influence the way in which countries are responding to COVID-19.