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Health care has slipped for Pittsburgh Latino children during pandemic

During the Covid-19 crisis much information has focused on the effects of the virus in adults as well as the challenges of parenting. But for many Latino children in Pittsburgh, the effects of the pandemic go beyond the virus, with parents hugely affected by reduced work hours or unemployment.

Some children have stopped coming for regular check-ups and are no longer up to date on vaccinations. At home, parents are dealing with unemployment, reduced work hours, food scarcity, and limited child care options without much support during the pandemic. It’s very concerning,” shared Dr. Diego.

Dr. Diego Chaves Gnecco, Director and Founder of the Salud Para Niños clinic

Founding Pediatrician of the Salud Para Niños (Health for the Children) clinic, Dr. Diego Chaves Gnecco, spoke with Presente about the health crisis Latino families are experiencing due to the Coronavirus. Not only are parents facing the virus without proper insurance and care access, but other issues are also emerging.

The number of families who have turned to Salud para Niños has increased greatly during 2020 and 2021. Some parents travel from far areas, including Westmoreland, South Fayette, and Beaver counties to get the necessary care for their children through the mobile clinic with culturally aware staff.

Food insecurity is also a greater concern for Latino families now than in previous years,” said Dr. Chaves Gnecco.

Since 2002, the clinic has been an essential resource of care for Latino children in the region. Its services are essential for children from newborn to 18 years of age with parents who do not have health insurance or regular care options. A visit to the mobile unit is like being at a regular pediatrician’s office, but with the added advantage of having it come to communities such as Beechview and Southside (Pittsburgh).

Pediatric health care is vital in ensuring healthy development in children. Dr. Chaves Gnecco encourages all Latino parents to continue seeking the health care they need for their children. The clinic staff is available for help at 412-692-6000, 24 hours, seven days a week for consultations. Salud para Niños is also offering virtual visits to support parents who cannot come in person and also interpretation services are also available if needed.

Free COVID 19 vaccines are now also an option for children over the age of 16 with a valid ID like a passport, driver’s license or a consular registration number.

If you would like to make an appointment for the Covid vaccine, as well as obtain resources for food or adult health services, contact Casa San Jose (Beechview) or the Latino Community Center (Downtown). For help with employment issues, starting a business, or housing issues you can contact the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation (Beechview).

Let’s continue taking care of each other, and especially our little ones.

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