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September 2022

Soz Praventivmed. 1979 May; 24(2-3): 158-62.

[Integration of health development cooperation into the cultural and socioeconomic context of the operational area: work of the Putina medical team in Peru]

Cadotsch A.

Contrasting with what happened with the indio traditional medicine and with the Western medical knowledge the Spaniards imported, industrialized nations' medicine, through its growing ability to fight infectious diseases, has sharpened in Peru in the 20th century the social disparity between the well-to-do upper classes and the poor masses. In order to alleviate this situation, efforts have been undertaken since the 1940's in the Department of Puno, the poorest of the country, in order to bring to the rural population the benefits of modern medicine. Since 1971, a team of Swiss physicians, integrated into the Peruvian Ministry of Health, works in the Putina area in several State health centers. There are presently five doctors for a 130,000 inhabitants population, collaborating in the setting up of basic health services. The most important pillars of the programme, which should be able to function without physicians, if need be, are voluntary health auxiliaries, chosen by their own community (1 per 500 people). State employed auxiliary nurses (1 per 5000 people), and Peruvian State Registered nurses, entrusted with training and supervisory tasks. The progress of the programme, in terms of the growing independence of the basic health system, is described, as are potentialities and limits in bringing it closer to the indigenous traditional medicine. Through the example of the supply of basic drugs, it is pointed out how setbacks suffered in the last two years, are illustrative of the country political crisis and of its growing dependency on industrialized nations.

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