After sailing the Amazon River to deliver medical aid and assistance to indigenous communities in coastal areas, the Pope Francis Hospital Boat has been reorganized to specifically aid in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview published on the Latin American Episcopal Council, Brother Joel Sousa of the ship’s coordination team said that the crew is now committed to raise awareness and provide information to the local populations. He also said that the medical and logistical team aboard the ship were reorganized to respond to the pandemic. (Read: Here’s Why Lolo Kiko Wants You to Help the Poor Amid the Pandemic)
“We are dealing mainly with flu-like symptoms and mild cases of COVID-19,” Br. Sousa says. The doctors aboard the ship are for consultations while others distribute medicines.
Ready for COVID-19
The Pope Francis Hospital Boat crew includes 23 medical experts. The hospital ship is fully equipped with consulting rooms, an operating room, a laboratory for testing and diagnosis, a pharmacy, and a vaccination center. It can carry out X-Rays, mammograms, echo-cardiograms, and can also accommodate ophthalmology and dentistry. (Read: PH Hospitals Now Offer ‘Drive-Thru Testing’ for Safer Service)
Pope Francis himself has expressed his support for this initiative and donated an ultrasound machine. In a letter to the crew and promoters of the ship, he reminded that the Church is a “field hospital” that welcomes everyone, without distinction. (Read: Pope Francis Establishes Fund For Struggling Italian Families)
“Like Jesus, who appeared walking on water, calmed the storm and strengthened the disciples’ faith, this boat will bring spiritual comfort and serenity to the concerns of needy men and women, abandoned to their faith,” Pope Francis wrote.