Returning to Quito on Tuesday didn't mean our viaje was over. We had the opportunity to visit a primary healthcare clinic- Centro de Salud Guamaní, on our final day. Guamaní is a part of a network of primary healthcare clinics in the furthest southern part of Quito. They handle cases at the least complicated level we saw on our viaje- think of a really big doctor's office. They boast four general practitioners, but also offer homeopathy, electromagnetic therapy and neurotherapy.
First, we toured the complex. It is small, but has a pharmacy, which is free with the healthcare law. My favorite part, however, was the large garden that the subcentro has, maintained by women with lower financial resources in the community, who harvest the food to eat in their own homes.
Much of the work of the subcentro actually happens out in the community. They head up vaccination campaigns and measure they health of students in schools. A local committee helps run the hospital, and since they have been around for fifteen years, the partnership is very strong. They also work closely with a church that is situated right next door, so closely, in fact, that while the largest center associated with Guamaní is being built, some doctors have their offices there.
Guamaní was my favorite location because the woman that guided us was very complete in her explanations and understood and sought to answer all of our questions. (Maybe we just got better at asking questions?) Plus, I'm really into community health promotion.
We also got the opportunity to spend time talking to the doctor of homeopathy, who has a relationship with our program. He spoke about his own practice, as well as the partnership his practice has with other traditional medicine providers. Though the hospital can no longer employ a shaman because of issues of licensure, he maintains a relationship with a group of healers and makes referrals to them in cases of espanto and similar issues. He described these issues as culture bound, but said he did not believe he could heal them, so he encouraged his patients to use traditional medicine, which I thought was really cool.
We headed home to work hard on our upcoming (due today) papers and presentations (and took a little time to head to a salsoteca). I am super grateful for the opportunity to travel with my program and apply all of the theory from class. It is also great to see many different parts of the country and their takes on health.
I'm headed to the coast for Carnaval with the family of a friend of mine here. I'll check back in afterwards!