Many think of aviation as a luxury. But for rural communities in Bolivia, small aircraft often provide their only access to health care, literally the difference between life and death. Mano a Mano provides transport for people in need of emergency care; medical professionals to provide healthcare in rural communities during weekend health clinics; Mano a Mano staff, volunteers, and equipment as we partner with Bolivian communities on development projects; and the distribution of medical supplies and equipment.

Weekend Health Clinics (Jornadas)

Mano a Mano recruits medical professionals to spend a weekend providing healthcare in rural areas with limited access to healthcare. Three to eight volunteers, along with a pilot, fly to a prearranged airstrip location on an early Saturday morning, and return home the next day. They perform a variety of services, which can include:

  • Diagnosing both acute and chronic illness
  • Prescribing and providing medication when that is the appropriate treatment
  • Treating wounds, bites, and other health problems that can be managed on-site
  • Arranging for evacuation to a hospital if surgery or other in-patient care is required
  • Providing dental care
  • Administering vaccines
  • Teaching good hygiene practices

In preparation for a weekend clinic, community leaders will help spread the word that a clinic will be held on a specific day. Word will travel quickly throughout the area. Up to 100 people will appear at dawn on the scheduled day. As soon as the aircraft touches down on the grass landing strip, the volunteers set up the clinic. Volunteers divide themselves according to specialty and then divide the waiting patients into lines. The pilots assist by recording the limited available patient medical histories, managing the crowd, or entertaining the many children who accompany their parents.

Volunteer medical professionals getting ready to fly on the Mano a Mano plane for a weekend health clinic in San Lorenzo de Moxos, January 22-23, 2021.

Recent Weekend Health Clinics in the Department of Beni

Here is more information about a few of our most recent weekend health clinics, transporting volunteer medical professionals to provide care in rural communities in the department of Beni.

Jornada in Villa Alba – May 1-2, 2021

Volunteer medical professionals arrived at the Mano a Mano hangar at 6:30am on Saturday to fly to Villa Alba to provide a weekend health clinic. This community has a basic health clinic, but for emergencies and specialized care they have to travel to the city of Trinidad. During this weekend health clinic, 78 people received care: 44 received dental care, 10 people received physical therapy, and 24 people received haircuts. (In addition to being a nice service on its own, providing haircuts can often serve as an incentive for people to come to our weekend health clinics – similar to how we will provide layette sets to mothers of newborns to incentivize them to receive regular medical care.)

Jornada in San Ignacio de Moxos – May 15-16, 2021

Setting up for providing dental care.

Mano a Mano flew medical professionals to San Ignacio de Moxos for a weekend health clinic on May 15-16. Most of the care was for dental and physical therapy. 76 patients received dental care, ranging from fillings and basic teeth cleaning to extractions.

76 people received dental care during this weekend health clinic in San Ignacio de Moxos.

30 patients received physical therapy. Some people needed attention from muscular injuries or chronic conditions, and older patients received care to help improve their mobility.

30 people received physical therapy.

Jornada in Trinidad – March 13-14, 2021

Setting up for the Trinidad weekend health clinic.

During this weekend health clinic in the city of Trinidad, volunteer medical professional provided care for:

  • 48 dental visits
  • 11 physical therapy visits
  • 19 haircuts

48 people received dental care.

Jornada in Trinidad – March 13-14, 2021

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