Two friends and co-workers from Los Angeles, Stella Cruz and Anita Soluna, they contacted members of the Southern Cal PAMS chapter. Although skeptical, since Cruz and Soluna are neither Peruvian or Medical Professionals, the PAMS members recognize their severity and agreed to serve as mentors for the duo.
In 2007, Selva in Action (SIA) was founded. A feasibility study (how best to offer services) was then developed and SIA team members conducted interviews with 125 families in the 14 of the villages along the Rio Momón.
The initial project was designed using the cooperative model. Villagers would pay a very small monthly “quota” (dues). In return, they could collectively pay for a doctor to visit each month, medicines, and hospital costs. Meetings were held, a Board was elected, the villages, and local SIA staff began the “teach them how to fish” part of the project.
They built their own “clinic” and hired a doctor. SIA local staff held meetings with the co-op twice a month, where they provided guidance and continuing education. Guests were also invited to discuss such topics as agriculture, soil amendments, budgeting, fundraising, nutrition, and more.
SIA had to assume the costs for a boat dock and guardian (in Iquitos). The boat was eventually returned to the Rotary Club of Iquitos and has since been donated to another NGO (Water Mission) with the agreement that, if needed, SIA can borrow the boat.
s the years passed, SIA’s medical team grew in size, but the co-op patient base diminished. It became increasingly clear that there were serious issues, and we set out to find them. What we discovered was, that although the co-op model had been proven effective in other places, an evaluation determined that our lack of in-depth knowledge of the local culture was the biggest causal factor in its demise.
- Wellness was an unfamiliar concept; people couldn’t understand why they needed to see a doctor if they weren’t sick
- SIA is now celebrating 10 years since its inception, and 8 years of providing consistent medical services.
- Luis Espinoza (Tropical Medicine/Infectious Diseases) is our Medical Director.
- Sammi Raéz (DDS) is our Dental Director.
- Since the shift in focus, we have gone from serving 250 patients in 2014 to our record high of 540 patients in 2017.
- Our medical/dental teams of volunteers and local staff expanded from 25 in 2016 to 40 in 2017.
- We have added chiropractic and acupuncture to our services.
- We are now providing in-village follow-ups for patients with the most serious needs.
- We have sent patients to Lima for successful pacemaker implant (thank you, Dr. Cesar Aranguri) and plastic surgeries.
- We will be holding our second Pterygium (eye) surgery campaign in 2018 (thanks to former PAMS President, Dr. Miguel Pro)
- We have formed a partnership with the Global Health group from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and are undertaking the battle against anemia.
For more information, call Anita Soluna at 505-705-5700, email us at email@example.com or visit us online at: http://sia.pams.org/