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From: Sustainable healthcare – Footsteps 37

Working together to establish health priorities and improve local healthcare provision

by Dr Apolos B Landa.

In our societies, healthcare often becomes a commodity. The rich few can afford good healthcare while the vast majority of people do not have the means to pay – they have no access to healthcare as a basic human right. Is it possible to make healthcare more equal?

We at the Luke Society have been struggling with this goal for a while. We work both in the urban areas of Moyobamba, central Peru, and the nearby deprived jungle areas. We found no organisation able to support us financially in subsidising healthcare. However, moved by our convictions, we committed ourselves to providing good quality, personalised health services for the poor in our communities. To make it accessible, we not only fixed subsidised fees but also began a community and school health education programme, as well as promotional and preventative healthcare programmes.

Painful truths

After seven years, however, we were dismayed to discover that…

Facing the problems

Did we give up? NO! Over a long period we discussed and debated. We looked back at our experiences and implemented the following practices, in order to help the poor without subsidising the rich…

Positive outcomes

Now we are seeing the following results…

In this way we are able to be financially sustainable and, at the same time, to serve the poor. Like the covenant of grace where both rich and poor benefit from the Lord’s gift, by working together we can provide quality healthcare for all (Isaiah 65:17-24). Explaining the gospel is closely linked to all our health services and there are many opportunities to share the love of Christ.

Dr Apolos Landa is Latin American and Caribbean Co-ordinator for the Luke Society Inc, with wide experience of primary healthcare. His address is: Associación San Lucas, Apdo 421, Trujillo, Peru. E-mail: panluk@inglenet.lima.net.pe

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