Monday, January 24, 2011

"We are a threat to the system and a service to our people" - First Garífuna Hospital perserveres despite adversity since coup

The La Voz de los de Abajo delegation met with the leadership of the first Garífuna hospital on Sunday night in Ceiba at the Fundación Luagu Hatuadi Wauhenu - Garífuna for "for the health of our people."

As hospital founder and director Dr. Luther Castillo explained, "The first popular Garífuna hospital of Honduras is a community initiative in defense of the health of our peoples. It's located in the community of Ciriboya, Colón... a zone where there was never adequate health services. Since 2007 we have done almost half a million free health consultations because health is a fundamental human right."

Co-founders Wendy Pérez and Félix Ramirez explained to the group the adversities the hospital has faced since the coup d'etat, including two military invasions and a cut off of assistance from the state. As part of their ongoing struggle to ensure the continued provision of these completely free services, which thousands of people have come to rely on, the hospital will soon be launching a campaign to get donors to sponsor the dedicated doctors and nurses who serve people at the Ciriboya hospital without any salary.

The coup government along with the private health care industry and professional doctors' associations have seen the hospital as a threat. "By instilling the value in our people that health care is a human right, we are a threat to the capitalist system and at the same time a service to our people. We attend to their needs while we demand that the state fulfill the human right to health care," says Dr. Castillo.

La Voz de los de Abajo, which has visited the hospital twice before, will continue to accompany the Garífuna hospital in its effort to fight for the human right to health care for all people. For more background information, see the article from our last delegation: "Garífuna hospital and land reclamation are seeds for a vision of a new Honduras and new world."

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