By Larissa I. López

The Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) reported in a note that Pope Francis’ Hospital Ship has entered the fight against the coronavirus in Brazil.

The ship, born of a suggestion in 2013 of the Holy Father and Friar Francisco Belotti, of the Saint Francis Fraternity of Rio de Janeiro, is taking medical and sanitary aid to coastal populations and to the tropical Amazon jungle.

The ship has been crossing the waters of the Amazon River since September 2019. It was inaugurated in July and in August it was already rendering services in Obidos and Belem.

Since then, 46,000 services have been carried out, distributed in municipalities along the Amazon River (Alenquer, Almerim, Belterra, Curua, Faro, Juruti, Monte Alegre, Obidos, Oriximina, Prainha, Santarem and Terra Santa).

Fight against Coronavirus

In an interview featured on the portal of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (NCBB), Friar Joel Sousa, who is part of the ship’s Coordination Committee, marked the first anniversary of this project in the life of the Amazonian people. “This ship has already wrought great miracles in the life of our riverine people, bringing health and hope,” he said.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the ship could do no more than offering help to the neediest. ”We couldn’t be out of this fight. We united and organized our service so that together we could also fight against COVID-19,” explained Friar Joel.

Clinical Care and Awareness

In addition, the Friar explained that the work of Pope Francis’ ship is being carried out with the support of health professionals through clinical care.

The crew onboard also co-operates by making the people aware. “We are taking care of primarily flu symptoms and light COVID-10 symptoms in outside patients. The doctor does the consultations and we also hand out medications, together with the local Department of Health,” he concluded.

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