As we mentioned in our “A Look Back at What We Did in 2012“, we have been busy over the past year! We have added a variety of new programs over the last few years, but the first program we started in Bolivia almost 15 years ago was our health clinic program, which has the widest reach out of any of our projects and continues to grow.
Process from Start to Finish for Building a Clinic – our 123rd Clinic in Kumara, Bolivia
In 2012 we added 9 new health clinics, bringing our total network of clinics to 136 at the end of the year. We recently received the end of year report from our counterpart Mano a Mano Bolivia on the activities of our health clinic network (click here for an overview of our partnership model and how we work with local communities) and wanted to share some of the numbers for 2012:
819,657 Patient Visits
Mano a Mano’s clinics focus on primary care; the vast majority of these visits were for basic needs:
- 254,634 visits were for what we categorize as lab services – pap smears, wound care, IV hydration, providing iron supplements and Vitamin A injections, among others.
- 56,055 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.
- 171,712 visits for dental care – exams, treatment, fluoride applications, and extractions (7,104 extractions in 2012!). Dental care is a huge need in rural Bolivia, which is why of the 448 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).
Delivered 2,316 Babies
Infant and maternal health is one of the primary services in our clinics. In 2012 our network of clinics delivered 2,316 babies, with 20 infant deaths. Bolivia has the second-worst infant mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere, trailing only Haiti, and the rural infant mortaliy – where Mano a Mano’s clinics are built – can be 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 birth 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 – 856 of the 2,316 deliveries took place in-home.
For comparison, over the same number of births that Mano a Mano delivered in 2012 and had 20 infant deaths, up to 185 babies could be expected to die according to the average in rural Bolivia.
448 Medical Professionals Staffing our Clinics – All Salaries Paid by Sources in Bolivia
Mano a Mano has 448 medical professionals on staff. All of our clinic staff are Bolivian and are living on-site in our clinics and hospitals, which includes 156 doctors, 217 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).