Video-call booth connects families, Covid patients in Bolivia

By Yolanda Salazar

La Paz, Jul 13 (EFE).- A video call booth at a Bolivian hospital is helping to bring Covid-19 patients and their families closer together while respecting strict health and safety rules.

The Hospital Municipal de Cotahuma in the capital La Paz, which exclusively treats Covid-19 patients, hosts the meetings three times a week.

“You look well, I know you’ll keep progressing and we’ll see each other on the outside,” Héctor Ordoñez tells his best friend, who was hospitalized a week ago.

Afterward, he told Efe: “I was able to chat, seeing how he is. Seeing his face cheered me up, he has recovered quite a lot.”

Carlos Mora went to visit his sister for the first time since her hospitalization.

“I know you’re strong and that you’ll make it out of this,” he told her.

After the video call, family members head to a separate room to chat with a doctor via a telephone separated by a glass window. The medical professional provides updates on the patient’s situation.

The video booth idea came from engineer Óscar Illanes, who experienced firsthand what it was like to lose a family member without being able to say goodbye.

Thanks to him, the Hospital Municipal de Cotahuma became the first — and as yet only — hospital with the video call technology.

“This communication has been excellent, given that it has led to a perceivable improvement in many patients, lifting their spirits and those of the families,” he told Efe.

The director of the hospital, Ximena Mercado said that before the introduction of the video call system, family members would leave posters outside the hospital or send letters. The hospital then used a telephone system to connect patients with their families, and then offered video calls, which has helped improve communication and boost that “connection,” which favors a patient’s recovery.EFE


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