Chaparral, Tolima Mission 2020

(Postponed to 2021)

The next medical mission of COAMED in 2020, stems from an existing need in the Municipality of Chaparral, where two of our founding members had the opportunity to start their medical careers. Doctors Jaime Carrizosa and Andres Perez began their practice in this municipality, performing their mandatory rural service, and they still have contact with the current government of the state of Tolima.

As we know, COAMED has always encouraged their members to return to their home-country for purposes of giving back and providing care to its residents, especially to those who live in the municipality where they began practicing medicine.

The municipality of Chaparral is the main city of south Tolima. It is the health service center of 7 nearby towns and multiple villages. The Governor and the Ministry of Health have reached out to COAMED Foundation, for purposes of discussing the lack of access to specialized medical services in the Municipality.

Their hope is that, by virtue of a COAMED medical/surgical mission, more than 70,000 people who are in desperate need will finally have means of obtaining better medical care. The local entity that provides healthcare services in this municipality is San Juan Bautista Second Level Hospital, which was built in 1895.

The Hospital’s capacity is between 40 to 60 beds, of which 8 to 10 are for pediatric care and 14 are for Obstetrics (OB). The Hospital does not have a neonatal unit, but attends about 600 births per year.  The Hospital’s medical team consists of 25 general practitioners, and 4 or 5 specialists.  Most of the specialist consultations are carried out sporadically by doctors who come from the capital of Ibagué. Therefore, the majority of patients who require specialized services are referred primarily to places located in Ibagué city.

The Administration expressed to COAMED how antiquated and inefficient the neonatology service is in the Hospital. The OB unit does not have anesthesia and needs sonography equipment.  The radiology equipment is old and now obsolete, and they do not have an image intensifier. They also do not have enough transport stretchers, or wheelchairs. They have asked us to consider providing them with a surgical table for one of the two surgery rooms. They also need to develop a program to treat drug addiction. The clinical laboratory needs more advanced devices to be able to provide effective and efficient service. The system for referring patients to care outside the Hospital is well organized, but the personnel cannot keep up with the demand.

In this medical outreach opportunity, COAMED will donate multiple pieces of medical and surgical equipment.  Perhaps more importantly, COAMED is planning to perform specialized services in cardiology, pediatrics, neonatology, audiology, gastroenterology, gynecology, foot-ankle surgery, otolaryngology, and facial plastic surgery.

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