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Dr. Ramón Tallaj: Health crisis is now a human crisis

The pandemic has also generated huge gestures of solidarity. For example, in New York, these doctors, part of the Somos Community Care group, haven't limited themselves to treating patients.

They've been looking for ways to help them with meals. They've set up a free hotline to offer support to immigrants in their own language, and they've been testing them for the coronavirus to get them back to their daily routines.

Founder of Somos Community Care
“We're working with authorities. We have around 20,000 of these kits so they can be used on other people. It's completely free for our community.”

Dr. Tallaj's organization has been coordinating with the more than 30 parishes in New York to reach out to the people. Dr. Yomaris Peña has been working at one of them, St. Bridget.

Somos Community Care
“It's a place to which the community feels it can come without any problems, where the community feels comfortable.”

During the lockdown, these family physicians, who have been treating 40,000 people daily for years, sounded the alarm. They saw that the coronavirus was spreading especially quickly among Latino and Asian communities.

Founder of Somos Community Care
“They returned to their homes, those small apartments where you have 10 people sharing one bedroom and one bathroom, or 12 people sharing two bedrooms and one bathroom. So everyone was infected.”

Ramón Tallaj says he's been thinking about the piece of advice Pope Francis gave them some months ago, to put the person and his or her needs at the center.

Founder of Somos Community Care
“I wasn't at the hospital waiting for seriously ill patients. We went out to the community. Now, this big health crisis is a human crisis. Yesterday, on top of the food we provided for two days, the four-person meal, we gave out vegetables and fruit, at a center with chef Andrés and Marc Anthony, from World Centre Kitchen and Maestro Care. With Somos, we provided around 3,000 meals. There were people lined up as early as 3 a.m.”

“Somos” is a network of physicians serving at least 700,000 patients in New York. Many of the doctors are immigrants. Now they're helping patients return to their normal lives, while respecting health safety measures.


Translation: CT