Last week Mano a Mano hosted 15 doctors, nurses, and health care professionals from Minnesota for a continuing health education conference with our medical staff in Bolivia. This was the fourth conference in the past 2 years that Regions Hospital staff has participated in; hundreds of Bolivian health care professionals attend each conference, including Mano a Mano staff and staff from other organizations throughout the country.

Conference attendees

These continuing education courses are a critical component of our clinic model; each year our staff at Mano a Mano Bolivia put together 10-12 three-day health education workshops for doctors, nurses, and dentists, and every medical staff member of the 375 (and counting) that work in our clinics has to attend at least one per year. In 2010 our staff provided 13,298 hours of continuing health education. Topics for these conferences focus on staff members’ immediate concerns: traumatology, nutrition, bio-security, problem pregnancies, and family violence. These workshops are valuable learning experiences as well as an added incentive for our medical staff, most of whom work in distant rural areas and look forward to the chance to travel to Cochabamba and spend time with their colleagues.
With Regions’ support we are able to cover more topics in which they have additional expertise; all of the topics selected are chosen based on the requests and primary concerns of our staff in Bolivia. Topics at this years’ conference included burn management, nutrition, periodontal surgery, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and renal failure, among many others. 

We are very grateful to the Regions volunteers from Minnesota who travel to Bolivia, at their own expense, to take part in these conferences, and special thanks to all of our wonderful staff at Mano a Mano Bolivia who hosts the conference and handles all the logistics. This is a great collaboration for us, and we look forward to the next one!