Since 1995, the Peruvian government has been working to restructure their healthcare system. In rural areas and small towns, healthcare services are limited, while in major cities healthcare is more available and is considered adequate. Thus, a large proportion of Peruvians have inadequate access to health services. Approximately seventy percent of the population lives at or below the poverty line. Those that live in poverty face barriers in accessing both basic and emergency healthcare services. They are unable to afford high quality services at private clinics and receive low quality service due to the lack of resources available at small clinics. Through the international volunteer headquarters’ (IVHQ) medical volunteer program, I worked at a small health clinic located on the outskirts of Cusco, Peru for one month. I observed doctors and nurses at this clinic as they served low-income patients with respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, common colds, malaria, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, chicken pox, and whooping cough, which are the leading causes of death in Peru. By providing affordable services to these patients, this clinic greatly contributes to the improvement of the Peruvian healthcare system.
Victoria Levasseur, ’11
Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Sponsor: Carol Lacy-Salazar