PIH Drivers Fueling the Fight Against COVID-19
Around the world, staff behind the wheel handle responsibilities that extend far beyond transporting patients
Posted on Dec 22, 2020
If the sun is rising at a Partners In Health location and you want to know what’s planned for the day, a good place to visit is the transportation office.
That’s where drivers and vehicle managers will be tuning up trucks, organizing who is going where and when, and setting plans that will enable PIH health care workers to provide care, patients to receive it, and vital supplies to be delivered. And many of those plans likely will change before the sun sets, as new needs and situations arise.
But no matter what the day brings, one thing is certain: PIH drivers are health care heroes.
They’re the reason patients and their loved ones can safely arrive at medical facilities, despite difficult road conditions and harsh weather, such as flooding in rainy seasons. Drivers can also serve as translators for foreign staff, negotiators at local roadblocks, accompagnateurs during appointments, mechanics for damaged vehicles, and so much more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shined an extra spotlight on them, as drivers’ roles have become all the more vital and the conditions all the more challenging in recent months.
But they’ve been an essential part of PIH for decades.
Javier Yataco, for example, has worked for 18 years as a driver with Socios En Salud, as PIH is known in Peru.
“The reward from my work comes from seeing, little by little, the recovery of each patient; it gives me joy and gives me the resolve to continue working for a new cause for each of the patients and with my co-workers,” says Javier.
The video above features firsthand accounts from Javier and other PIH drivers around the world.