Taking care of life, delving into the love

The process of recovering from COVID-19 brought Maureen de León and Mauricio Grael closer and gave them a new sense of the present moment. During this process, the public-private alliances were part of the relief.

The bond of love between Maureen de León and Mauricio Grael grew stronger in 2020. In December, both of them tested positive for COVID-19. Maureen got seriously ill quickly and, in a lapse of three days, she was on a ventilator after being admitted to the hospital. At home, Mauricio spent the isolation period in his bedroom, praying to be able to see her again.
Every four hours, Mauricio was monitored by a team from Panama’s Ministry of Healthcare. They followed up on his symptoms and improvement via video calls. This same team, based on their home assistance protocol, was the one that detected the need to take Maureen to the hospital urgently, transported her, provided the family with a kit for taking care of Mauricio and delivered the oxygen for his treatment.
Maureen was hospitalized for eighteen days. As the weeks went by and thanks to the assistance of the medical staff, she was able to recover both her spirit and health. “You feel physically ill, but the support of people is so very important and unique; I don’t know how to explain it, I feel so thankful for everyone’s support,” she says as she remembers that her best reward was to be able to come back home for Christmas.
Talking about those days, they realized that they both yearned for each other and that they each had lived a deep love experience –for their body, for each other and for their family–. Such experience has caused their relationship to have a deeper sense of sincerity and joy now.
The home assistance program for COVID-19 patients has been developed thanks to a public-private partnership between the Panamanian Ministry of Healthcare and regional companies such as Grupo Nutresa’s Cold Cuts Business, Blue Ribbon and Berard.
This assistance model, which was first implemented in Colombia by Sura, was replicated in Panama in two corregimientos (sub-districts) initially, but by the end of the year it had been deployed in ten. This initiative also allowed establishing protocols for addressing other illnesses. The home assistance program, which was a result of this partnership, boosts and strengthens the company-government relationships.

“When I was at the hospital, I said: ‘I need to be different, time does not spare you,’ and this is the opportunity that God has given me to come back and share quality time with my family.”

Maureen de León, beneficiary of the home assistance program for COVID-19 patients, a public-private alliance, Panama.

“I believe that the most valuable lesson from this public-private partnership is the concept of solidarity. Thanks to this, we have been able to cope with the pandemic crisis, even in the worst scenarios. We go and find the people, the families, we address them collectively, we monitor them and we provide the necessary assistance. Our staff is highly qualified and prepared, particularly to provide a deeply humane assistance service, which is the most important part.”

Yelkys Gill, Ministry of Healthcare officer, Panama.