Health Program Update – First-Half 2013

Below is an update on our health programs, that are run by Mano a Mano’s counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia, for the first half of 2013:

2 New Clinics Built

So far this year we have completed 2 new clinics in Chivirancho and Esmeralda. There are also 4 clinics currently under construction in the communities of San Jacinto, Guitarrani, Korka, and Tarana (Korka and Tarana will be done in September), and a signed agreement (and complete funding) in the community of Paracti.

Dedication ceremony for the Chivirancho clinic on May 29, 2013

Dedication ceremony for the Chivirancho clinic on May 29, 2013

Community members putting the final touches on the Esmeralda clinic that was completed in May 2013

Community members putting the final touches on the Esmeralda clinic that was completed in May 2013

Delivered 1,183 Babies

Infant and maternal health is one of the primary services in our clinics. In the first half of 2013 our network of clinics delivered 1,183 babies, with 3 infant deaths. Bolivia has the second-worst infant mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere, trailing only Haiti, and the rural infant mortality – where Mano a Mano’s clinics are built – are much higher than the national average (up to 8% in rural areas).

Frequent prenatal exams (assisted by the Bolivian government-funded Juana Azurduy program which provides stipends for expecting mothers to attend prenatal exams and give birth in a hospital) and having births attended by trained healthcare personnel, in addition to ongoing exams after birth and the ability to quickly communicate with larger hospitals in case of emergencies, can dramatically decrease early infant mortality. Mano a Mano staff are also well-connected in the community and travel frequently to peoples’ homes – 406 of the 1,183 deliveries, or 34%, were in-home deliveries attended by Mano a Mano staff.

For comparison, over the same number of births that Mano a Mano delivered in 2013 and had 3 infant deaths, up to 95 babies could be expected to die according to the average in rural Bolivia.

442,995 Total Patient Visits

Mano a Mano’s clinics focus on primary care; the vast majority of these visits were for basic needs:

  • 144,959 visits were for what we categorize as lab services – pap smears, wound care, IV hydration, providing iron supplements and Vitamin A injections, among others.
  • 34,310 visits were for vaccinations – tetanus, yellow fever, measles, polio, etc. Because Mano a Mano clinics are designated as the official health center for their catchment area, we receive vaccinations, medications, and other supplies from the Bolivian Ministry of Health as part of their national healthcare outreach programs.
  • 86,596 visits were for dental care – exams, treatment, fluoride applications, and extractions (4,421 extractions so far!). Dental care is a huge need in rural Bolivia, which is why of the 459 medical professionals working in our clinics, 75 are dentists (in a typical clinic, staff will include a doctor, nurse, and part-time dentist, but this varies by the size of the community and their needs).
Waiting room of a Mano a Mano clinic

Waiting room of a Mano a Mano clinic

459 Medical Professionals Staffing our Clinics – All Salaries Paid by Sources in Bolivia

Mano a Mano has 459 medical professionals on staff. All of our clinic staff are Bolivian and are living on-site in our clinics and hospitals, which includes 161 doctors, 223 nurses, and 75 dentists. Every staff salary is paid for by someone other than Mano a Mano. The Bolivian Health Ministry, local Bolivian municipal governments, and a handful of local companies and organizations pay for all of our staff salaries as a continual line item in their annual budgets. In this way our projects are able to continue to operate even though they receive no ongoing funding from Mano a Mano (they are still supported through continuing education, distribution of medical supplies and equipment, and direct connection with our Cochabamba office for difficult cases).

9,436.5 Volunteer Hours in Cochabamba

In addition to the tens of thousands of hours that Bolivian community residents contribute on specific projects, there is a huge volunteer effort based in Mano a Mano Bolivia’s Cochabamba warehouse. More than 140 people volunteer with Mano a Mano Bolivia, and work in the following areas:

  • Sorting, categorizing, and distributing donated medical supplies and equipment shipped from the US
  • Bolivian doctors and nurses providing weekend health clinics (like this one in San Pablo in 2012)
  • Bolivian doctors and nurses teaching and contributing to continuing health education workshops provided by Mano a Mano Bolivia
  • Dream Fund (scholarship program)

148 Communities on our Waiting List

Since 1998, Mano a Mano has built 140 community health clinics throughout Bolivia. But there is a HUGE backlog; we have 148 communities that are currently on our waiting list for a clinic project (there are similar numbers on our waiting lists for schools, roads, and water projects as well). Every project that we do begins with a request from the community, but we can only complete new projects with donations that are the seed money to make the project happen.

From foundation grants to individual donations and fundraising events, we are always in need of support to be able to reach more communities. Please feel free to contact us if you’d like to learn more about ways you can help.

You can also make a donation here.



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