We wanted to share a recent article written by Correo del Sur – a newspaper in Sucre, Bolivia – about the way communities and health care providers are responding to the coronavirus in their region, including Mano a Mano’s clinic in Pampas de Leque. The article is about the community of Tarvita, a municipality in the Juana Azurduy de Padilla Province and Department of Chuquisaca, where about 30 Leque Pampa residents had to be quarantined as a result of being exposed to people in Oruro who may have been infected with the coronavirus. It is impressive to read that the local leaders themselves are policing to make sure that people who may have been exposed to the virus and people arriving from a known infected area are being requested to isolate at home for the 14 days. (As we have all seen, it has been a challenge in some areas around the world to observe good practices to slow the spread of COVID-19.)

The regional health official determined that in this one municipality there may be as many as 1,000 people observing the quarantine and all of them are being attended by the medical staff from some of the Mano a Mano clinics, including Leque Pampa. During these challenging times, these are the clinics that are caring for the people.

The health clinic in Tarvita that is helping manage the self-quarantine of the community – April 2020. PHOTO CREDIT: Correo del Sur

Pampas de Leque Clinic – In Operation Since 2006

Inside the Pampas de Leque clinic during a Mano a Mano site visit in 2009. (This is a 12-hour drive each way for Mano a Mano Bolivia staff to visit Pampas de Leque from Cochabamba.)

In collaboration with our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia, Mano a Mano completed the Leque (Tarvita) clinic in August 2006; this clinic has been in operation for over 13 years. The Leque clinic was our 64th clinic project, and we have now completed 171 clinics throughout Bolivia. Pampas de Leque provides access to health care for 1,400 people. You can read about the partnership model that we use on every project.

One of our most recent clinic projects built in partnership with Mano a Mano Bolivia and the community – the Tocopilla clinic was dedicated in late 2019.

2019 Pampas de Leque Clinic Patient Visits

Type of Patient VisitNumber of Patient Visits
External Consult2,309
Visits to Mano a Mano’s Pampas de Leque Clinic in 2019

Sustainability: The Goal of Every Mano a Mano Project

Dedication brochure for the dedication of Mano a Mano’s Pampas de Leque Clinic, August 2006.

A primary goal for every Mano a Mano project – whether it is a clinic, school, water project, road, greenhouse, or other project – is that it is sustainable for the long-term. Every project we do is done in partnership with the community and municipal government: they request the project, they work hand in hand with Mano a Mano during construction and provide some funding, and the project is turned over to them upon completion. It is ultimately their project.

Children taking a boat for a ride on the Ucuchi Water Reservoir in 2017, built by Mano a Mano in 2006. The reservoir is now an integral part of the San Isidro Ecotourism Park.

With Mano a Mano clinics, they become part of the Bolivian health care system and are the official provider for their catchment area, making them eligible for services and reimbursment through Health Ministry-funded programs. All staff salaries in Mano a Mano’s clinics are paid for by sources within Bolivia. We have over 521 doctors, nurses, and dentists working in Mano a Mano clinics, and Mano a Mano does not pay for any of them on an ongoing basis. With this partnership agreement, we can ensure that there is stable funding in place, and we can continue to complete new infrastructure projects in communities that currently do not have local access to care.

Funding Source – Mano a Mano Clinic StaffDoctorNurseDentistTotal%
Total (163 clinics reporting)18825479521100
82% of Mano a Mano clinic staff positions are paid for by the Bolivian government.

We are happy to see Mano a Mano projects like the Leque clinic continue to have an impact for years and decades after their completion. There is much more to do and many challenges; we are all seeing the strain the COVID-19 pandemic is putting on healthcare systems around the world, including a severe shortage of medical supplies and equipment, but we will continue to do what we are able, working together.

While most of our projects and daily programs are currently on hold due to COVID-19 quarantine and stay at home orders, Mano a Mano has been distributing medical supplies and equipment on a near-daily basis to hospitals, clinics, and healthcare organizations throughout Bolivia over the past few weeks.