Building a Clinic High in the Andes in Rural Bolivia

Mano a Mano worked with the community of Jironkota (population 1,800 in the department of Cochabamba) to build a health clinic that was completed in December 2012.

Jironkota residents gathering for the Dedication of the clinic in December 2012

Jironkota residents gathering for the Dedication of the clinic in December 2012

The Jironkota clinic, as with all Mano a Mano projects, was a collaborative effort with the local community, local Bolivian government, and Mano a Mano staff and volunteers in both the US and Bolivia. Learn more about the Mano a Mano model for collaboration HERE.

If you read through our blog, at times it can seem like these new projects – whether it’s a clinic like Jironkota or a new school, or road, or water project – feel seamless and come together relatively easily (Look! We dedicated another new project today!); and it is true that we have built more than 300 infrastructure projects throughout Bolivia, and 100% of these projects are still in operation today, even with little ongoing funding.

But these projects are a lot of work for all involved – in this project:

  • local residents dedicated more than 3,000 volunteer hours during the construction process
  • the local municipality of Tapacari donated thousands of dollars in funding and in-kind contributions (some construction materials and transportation and some medical equipment)
  • the Bolivian Ministry of Health is paying for the clinic staff salaries as a permanent line item in their budget (and providing health services that are available to all health centers under its umbrella, such as vaccinations, medications, and free healthcare to expecting mothers and children up to 5 years old)
  • our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia oversaw the entire process as they do with all clinic projects

The work doesn’t end with completion of the building; we were recently back on-site in late April to train volunteer health promoters, which is a core component of our continuing health education program.

With the infrastructure in place, it’s now time for the real work to begin – the doctors and nurses providing healthcare day-in and day-out, being on-call 24/7,  usually living away from their families and spending the vast majority of their time in isolated rural communities.

Jironkota joins the 136 other healthcare clinics (and 450+ doctors, nurses, and dentists on staff) that Mano a Mano has built throughout the country, all of which are still in operation today, providing healthcare access to more than 700,000 Bolivians, thanks to the dedication and commitment of everyone involved.

Training Health Promoters in Jironkota

Learning about CPR with Dr. Alexander Balderrama from Mano a Mano Bolivia

Learning about CPR with Dr. Alexander Balderrama from Mano a Mano Bolivia

Learning how to provide transport in an emergency

Learning how to provide transport in an emergency

Jironkota Clinic Construction and Dedication Video

Special thanks to the Izumi Foundation for their support of the project and to our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia for their hard work to make this project happen!



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