The waiting room, actually more of a hangar, is full. For today’s consultations, the team has set up its mobile practice in the Aguas Blancas community hall. More than 50 people are waiting for treatment. They have even travelled in by boat from neighbouring villages and from the opposite bank of the Amazon that is actually Colombia.

Every time the mobile health brigade comes to Aguas Blancas, Diana Mamallacta comes in for a consultation. The mother of two still clearly remembers when her youngest child had a serious inflammation. Her mouth and throat were covered in sores and blisters. “She could barely swallow and had a fever. I just didn’t know what to do. Fortunately, it was just when the health brigade came to our village. They examined my little girl and helped us,” explains the 28-year-old.

People do not just come because the health brigade’s services are free of charge and open to everyone, but also because their health depends on it. There’s no alternative. “The nearest healthcare centre is a very long way away and very expensive. And fuel is scarce,” says Diana Mamallacta.

The journey to Puerto El Carmen, the nearest small town with a healthcare centre, takes up to five hours in an outboard motor boat. In an emergency, when someone needs to be taken to hospital urgently, from here on the journey continues in the ambulance bought with the proceeds of the Swiss Red Cross Gala St. Moritz 2018, because there are no roads until you get to Puerto El Carmen.

Back to Aguas Blancas. The health brigade provides a comprehensive healthcare service. While Dr Geovanny Manuel Gutierrez Brito is diagnosing patients and providing medical treatment nurse Luis Armando Cortez Cabezas checks an elderly lady’s blood pressure and dentist Mariana Lorena Morales Rincón fills a three-year-old’s cavity. The Health Ministry’s brigade is accompanied by trained health promotors and midwives trained by the Swiss Red Cross and its Ecuadorian partner, RIOS. Thanks to the proceeds from the Swiss Red Cross Gala St. Moritz 2018, there is now a local source of drinking water: public taps and water in the apartments of the teaching staff. The water is pumped up and decontaminated before distribution.

HOW WERE THE PROCEEDS OF THE SWISS RED CROSS GALA ST. MORITZ 2018 USED?

  • 20 health brigades provided primary healthcare for 6,920people in 137 remote villages in 2018/19.
  • Rioverde and Putumayo were each equipped with an ambulance: Delivery of the ambulance with medical and dental equipment
  • Medical and dental equipment was purchased for the San Marcos region and the towns of El Chical and Puerto El Carmen.
  • Dental equipment was provided for Rioverde.
  • Housing was provided for the health centre staff in San Marcos.
  • The villages of Aguas Blancas and Puerto Rodríguez were given local supplies of drinking water. Furthermore, a basic communal shower and toilet facility will be built in Puerto Rodríguez and water supplies will be made available for the smaller health centres.

Diana Mamallacta cannot forget the time when her daughter had a serious inflammation. But thanks to the health brigade, a doctor could take care of the little girl.