Colombia receives Canada donation to boost mental health response with COVID-19

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau. EFE/EPA/STR/Archivo

The Canadian Government through its Embassy in Bogotá announced that it will donate COP$948 million (CAN$350,000) to Colombia’s Ministry of Health and Social Protection to address challenges faced by the country’s mental health professionals with the coronavirus pandemic.

The funds will boost the counseling capacity of an additional 40 clinical psychologists working at the national mental health 192 call centre, and implemented through the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). Canada’s Ambassador to Colombia, Marcel Lebleu, indicated that although both countries are facing unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both nations have shared a close relationship for many years and for this reason, “Canada is pleased to support the efforts of the Government of Colombia to provide essential health services, including support for the most vulnerable.”

And in a move to prevent coronavirus infection among Colombia’s vulnerable prison population, President Iván Duque issued decree 546 that allows incarcerated men and women to serve their time at home for the duration of six months and only if health officials validate pre-existing medical conditions. The decree would benefit some 4,000 to 15,000 prisoners currently in over-crowded prisons across the country among them individuals aged 60 years or older, pregnant women or those with children less than 3 years of age. Prisoners charged with homicide, femicide, genocide, forced disappearance or displacement, kidnapping, human trafficking and terrorism among others, are not eligible for conditional liberty with the COVID-19 pandemic.