Donations help Gozitan doctor-priest treat Covid-19 patients in Peru

Donations are helping Fr Raymond Portelli acquire the supplies he needs to treat patients in his parish in Iquitos, Peru.

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Just over €180,000 have been raised in Malta and Gozo in response to an appeal by a Gozitan priest and medic, to help treat his poor parishioners in a Peruvian city overwhelmed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the past 26 years, Fr Raymond Portelli has been based in Iquitos, deep in the Peruvian Amazon basin. The city of around half a million people is facing a health crisis due to the arrival of Covid-19, a situation compounded by widespread poverty.

A lifelong interest in medicine had led him to graduate as a medical doctor, and needless to say, his services have been in strong demand in recent weeks. Over the past week, he treated 408 Covid-19 patients in his parish.

But the city’s isolation – it cannot be reached by road – has left it struggling for supplies, and Fr Portelli is no exception, leading him to appeal for help from his compatriots, with the help of his relatives in Nadur.

Thankfully, this appeal has brought about a strong response, with Fr Portelli announcing today that so far, €180,184 in donations have already come in. These funds are making possible the purchase of medicines, as well as a sorely-needed oxygen machine, which can be used as from tomorrow.

Gheziez huti benefatturi Maltin u Ghawdxin nixtieq nirringrazjakhom mill-qalb ghal ghajnuna li tajtuni din l-ahhar…

Posted by Raimundo Portelli Xuereb on Saturday, May 16, 2020

Meanwhile, Fr Portelli continues to treat his parishioners, well aware that this comes at a great personal risk. He is himself mourning the loss of a good friend and coursemate, Luis Panduro, who he described as a “martyr of medicine, like many others.”

“We will not give up… your help encourages me to push forward. I promise to pray for you, and ask that you keep me in your prayers.”

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