"Empowering low resource communities through education, infrastructure, and research."
Integrated Health Center
Improving the quality and access of medical and pharmaceutical care with an integrated health center.
Barriers to Healthcare in La Zona Sur
The distance between La Zona Sur and the closest health centers in the city is about 10km, and delays in public transport mean that patients must leave their homes at 3-4AM so that they can get a spot on line at the overcrowded hospitals.
The cost of drugs and certain medical procedures means that an indigenous patient may end up paying weeks' or months' worth of income to fund a medical purchase.
Many indigenous residents only speak Quechua, which creates difficulties when they are forced to decode medical information communicated to them in Spanish by health workers in the city.
The indigenous people of Bolivia have been systematically mistreated for decades, and this discrimination often carries over into the healthcare system.
Refresh Bolivia has partnered with a local non-profit organization Fundación Nuqanchik which runs a community center in La Zona Sur. The Foundation aims to provide services to the Alto Litoral community focusing on health, educational support, skills building, sustainability, and family social support. Before partnering with Refresh Bolivia, The Nuqanchik center comprised a kitchen, garden, sewing workshop, dentist's office, and a multipurpose community space. Refresh Bolivia identified the Nuqanchik center as a promising site for a community health center, given its strong ties to the community, large attendance, and integrated approach to community wellbeing. In January 2018, Refresh Bolivia and Fundación Nuqanchik formally partnered to establish a doctor's office adjacent to the existing community center.
Building the Clinic: A Time Series
SCOPING OUT THE SITE
PUTTING UP THE FIRST WALL
In August 2018, the construction of our community health center was completed, and doors opened in September 2018. Within just 2 weeks of opening, the center was visited by over 100 residents in Alto Litoral and other neighboring communities in La Zona Sur. Through an agreement with the local government, the clinic is staffed 5 days per week by a doctor and nurse who are well acquainted with the local communities. Currently, the clinic provides primary care services to men, women, and children. Our hope is to eventually expand the number and quality of services offered by the clinic, so that in 5-10 years the local government will take it over entirely.