Mojandita Clinic

History of the Mojandita Clinic

In 1991, after Diego Falconi and Betti Sachs bought land to build Casa Mojanda, they received a handwritten letter addressed to them in New York. It was from the Mojandita community president asking their help. The community was trying to finish building a small clinic that was started several years before but had been abandoned for lack of funds to buy materials.

Betti, Diego and some friends subsequently decided to help the community finish the clinic. The goal seemed both a worthy and an achievable one – setting up a small clinic to serve the basic medical needs of the Mojandita and surrounding communities.

After several years of fundraising, construction work, and then actually furnishing, equipping and organizing the clinic, the Mojandita Health Center opened on July 26, l997. The subsequent growth in its services has been due in large part to the efforts of Casa Mojanda´s generous supporters and volunteers working side by side with community health promoters and the community health board.

At present, Dr. Sonia Garcia, a family practitioner from Otavalo, sees patients every Friday. Casa Mojanda and the Mojandita Health Center have sponsored successful educational programs in family health issues, first aid, contraception and nutrition. In order to help make the clinic self-sustaining, the community has set up its own insurance program covering basic health costs and medicines.

Close to 300 people have so far subscribed to this plan. Volunteer brigades and many individual volunteers have come down to offer medical, dental and nursing services over the years as well as to bring the necessary equipment and supplies to keep the clinic running. We are proud of our role in getting the clinic to the point where it is self-governing and functions as an important community-managed resource. It is already reaching out to other nearby communities with medical attention and education programs. Construction was completed in 2002 on an extension to the Mojandita Health Center, funded by a non-governmental organization from Spain called Guaguacuna. The extension was planned to offer OB/GYN and birthing facilities, and additional examination rooms and offices. It is hoped that someday the clinic will have the services of a midwife to attend births in the clinic.

Dental Care Campaign

As in many rural communities in Latin America, dental care in Mojandita consists of removing teeth when they are too rotten or too painful to function. The traditional diet has changed over recent years and now contains more refined sugar and processed food and less whole grains, which contributes to dental and other health problems. Dental health was not an area we had originally planned to address, but we now see that the need is urgent. We have seen how much can be done with just a little preventive care and some portable dental equipment. The clinic has organized an education program for dental hygiene through the elementary school and through the clinic. With help from Casa Mojanda, supporters and mission teams, we secured the equipment needed for basic dental examinations. The community Health Board is now working through the logistical questions to arrange weekly visits to the community by a dentist in Otavalo.

Casa Mojanda