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Intercultural first-aid kits, autonomous alternatives to the pandemic

Intercultural first-aid kits, autonomous alternatives to the pandemic

From the Quechua and Aymara areas of Puno, several young people and parents have promoted a proposal to recover the “jampi wayaqas” (bundle of local medicines) and thus revalue the wisdom around local medicinal plants and implement intercultural kits in the face of a coronavirus health emergency.

Puno was one of the last regions to become infected with COVID 19. Until the end of June, the infected were around 900 and the deceased 20. The collapse of hospitals or health centers is unknown, but if there is a feeling of distrust and anxiety in the most important urban centers in the region, such as Puno and Juliaca.

In the accompaniment spaces of the Andean Regional Project, as is the case of Melgar, about 20 cases were registered, and in the district of Chucuito no case has yet been reported. The formation of district commands to take measures against the pandemic is evident, but it was also learned that local health centers did not meet the conditions to deal with the disease if it breaks out in the area.

Meanwhile, in the communities, actions continued with the care established in the state of emergency. The families, including children and youth, were dedicated to the harvests and actions of the processing of crops and livestock. Some people, including young people, who have returned to the community, have returned to cultivate plots in the upper part of the community that were left for ten years.

In this framework, the purposes of the PRA were reoriented in the face of the emergency, health emergency actions were proposed to implement intercultural kits in nine educational institutions and five communities, both in the Quechua and Aymara areas of the region.

The "jampi wayaqa"

The communities and young people have found the appropriate name for the proposal, such as the recovery of the “jampi wayaqa” (bundle of local medicines, in Quechua). There are multiple initial actions in the conformation of the jampi wayaqas. For example, in the Quechua zone, the young people from Tuni Requena went to the upper part of the Pucará district to collect medicinal plants and distribute them to families. At the Mallitipata de Ayaviri school, a mother agrees to collect medicinal plants and share with the community and children, in the same school the parents have decided to teach their children the whole concept and use of medicinal plants .

For its part, the Umaccollana Umachiri school, together with the collection and use of medicinal plants, the children will produce texts and drawings about plants, as a way of integrating local knowledge into the curriculum. The ladies of the Flor del Mundo association have made the collection of medicinal plants and through a knowledge fair they have shared their knowledge on the correct use of plants.

In the Aymara area, both the school and the Potojani Grande school have opted for intercultural kits at the family level. It is young people and children who have begun to collect medicinal plants from nearby ecosystems, and through exchanges and purchases they get plants from other ecosystems. All these plants are properly deposited in wooden medicine cabinets. There are 53 units in the school and 42 in the school. The idea is that this is part of a strengthened knowledge, learned and shared in the family and the community. Aymara and Quechua educational institutions are committed to working on the knowledge of medicinal plants through the curriculum, together with the proposal "I learn at home."

These actions are very well accepted in schools and communities because it allows to resume the ancestral practices of curing diseases and generates an expression of trust in people by having the means to heal themselves. The official health system is not neglected for nothing, its contribution is always expected as long as it is needed. Even a health center program recommends the use of medicinal plants.

It must be made clear that the recovery process of medicinal plants does not cure COVID 19, but strengthens the body, the immune system, to resist the effect of any disease, especially those produced by low temperatures, and why not the effects of the pandemic. These are some of the initial actions, in the following weeks the forms of use and the effects of medicinal plants in families will be known.

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