Peru on world map

Peru – Open for Business!!

November 10, 2007 - Peru

by Steve Henrichon

Regardless of the outcome of a potential partnership with the Sisters, they have graciously offered some space at the parish where we can erect a temporary clinic and begin offering health services. We were given a large tent from Caritas which we will use as an examining room. The tent will actually be set up inside the parish hall which we also have at our disposal. It seems kind of funny to set up a tent inside, but it will provide additional privacy. In the parish hall, we will be setting up a waiting area, Triage service, the examining room (tent), and a pharmacy. We will initially be employing Dr David “The Good Doctor,” a nurse to administer the triage, and a pharmacist to guard and distribute the medicine.

Last Friday, we took a trip to Lima, with the Good Doctor, to purchase our initial batch of medicine, equipment, and supplies. We woke up a 4am in Pisco to take the bus to Lima and we didn’t return home until midnight. Our day was so busy, we only had 20 or 30 minutes to wolf down our lunch. In the morning, we met with some pharmaceutical sales and we showed them our list of 60 medicines we intended to buy in bulk. A company called Infarmasa could supply us with 2/3 of the medicine but we ran into a road block. In order to purchase medicine from Infarmasa, you need to have a RUC (synonymous with a business Tax ID in the USA). We do not have a RUC yet. The Good Doctor has a RUC for his medical consultation services but his RUC is not authorized for the purchase of medicines in bulk. Skipping ahead a week, our Infarmasa Sales rep found another pharmaceutical Distributer which would accept the Doc’s RUC as well as provide us with every single medication on our list. We wired $3000 to them and the mountain of medicines was delivered right to our doorstep earlier today.

Now back to our busy day in Lima. After our meeting with the sales reps, we scurried over to Avenida Emancipación. This street is home to about 50 small stores all selling different types of medical equipment and supplies. We were able to compare prices with a number of different stores and find the best deals. After a lot of negotiating, we managed to spend about $1600 and we acquired all of the equipment and supplies on our list. Some of the more significant purchases include:

  • Exam Table
  • Pantoscope – a device used to exam ears, nose, and eyes.
  • Scale for babies
  • Surgical set – for minor surgeries and sutures
  • Sterilizer– in Peru (as in most other countries in the world) they are not able to throw their fresh sterilized scalpels, razors, clamps, tongs, etc away after everyuse. Instead, they use a sterilizer which is basically a very hot (and expensive) toaster oven. They cook the utensils prior to use.
  • Stethoscopes and Tensiometers
  • Utility table for supplies
  • Plethora of supplies – gloves, sterile gloves, iodine, gauze, thermometers, tongue depressors, masks, containers, lights, etc

I think the doctor had fun with this. He had the chance to pick out and evaluate the equipment he wants to use at the clinic. Like a kid in a candy store! We ended up bringing the majority of the equipment in big duffle bags on the 4 hour bus ride back to Pisco. The bed and other equipment were delivered to us. This evening, we will be purchasing a gynecology exam table and a couple speculums. This will be delivered next week.

So…we have the medicine, equipment, supplies, doctor, staff, location for the temporary clinic, and permission from the town hall. The Real Medicine Clinic will be open for business on Monday!!!

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