Sustainable Healthcare Takes Shape in Peru
Peru will soon see its first sustainable hospital thanks to founder of the Yantaló Peru Foundation: Luis Vasquez.
In 2005, his nonprofit organization broke ground on the Adelina Soplin Yantaló Clinic & International Diagnostic Center. Named after Vasquez’s late mother, the clinic will cover 4,220 square meters of land in the Peruvian Amazon community of Yantaló.
The hospital will house 16 patient rooms, four surgeries, 10 outpatient rooms, three digital X-ray units, a fully equipped laboratory, cafeteria, and meeting rooms. Services include female health, neonatology, pediatrics, molecular diagnostics, and genetics.
With limited resources in the jungle, all of the 30 workers selected to construct the green facility, scheduled for completion in the third quarter of this year, are local and have been trained in techniques not familiar to the region, like drywall.
“Our goal is to start a construction company when we finish this project,” Vasquez says. “This is the time to do it. There’s a lot of construction everywhere, and there are no qualified companies.”
At the clinic site, there are three generators supplying electricity to machines like saws and metal cutters—all of which had to be purchased. In the end, the building will be made of 100% reinforced concrete, ready for natural disasters and fires.
“Everything done here is done by hand. There isn’t heavy equipment in the area,” Vasquez says, noting specific difficulties. “The cement company will not deliver for small amounts.”
On the design side, the clinic will differ from U.S. hospitals with its high ceilingsand natural, open ventilation. “Why should we have air conditioning when we can build very high ceilings? The room by itself will be fresh,” Vasquez says.
Native plants will provide patients with a unique area for quick recovery, with the building boasting five therapeutic gardens. It will also be equipped with solar panels and a recycled water system.
Charitable contributions have assisted in the installation of such building systems. Seventy-five percent of the costs were donated for the facility’s medical gas system, the only one of its kind in South America. Another vendor donated 60% of all sanitary equipment.
When the facility opens this year, the plan is to have local staff on hand year-round, with international volunteer residents and professors present on a rotating basis. Patients who can’t pay will receive the same services as those who can.
Because these medical services are in high demand, Vasquez has prepared for an abundance of patients and recovery rooms will fit up to six patients. The hospital is expected to serve approximately 2 million people in the region surrounding Yantaló.
“What this will symbolize for the community is a higher level of everything. It’s not just healthcare,” says Li Ern Chen, MD at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and a volunteer with the foundation. “It’s a dream for many people. For the community, it’s going to represent a lot of growth.”
Kristen Lepore is a freelance writer and can be reached via www.kristenlepore.com. For more information on the Adelina Soplin Yantaló Clinic & International Diagnostic Center, please visit www.yantalo.org/clinic/yantalo_clinic.html.