Recently I visited the rural public health center near where I live. A Honduran dentist friend who is looking at ways to involve a US health group in some work in our region asked me to take photos of the center.
It’s quite a beautiful center with eight rooms. The construction was funded by the local municipal government – not the national heath system.
There are some chairs, desks, examination tables. There are several employees – only one of them paid by the national health system. The others are paid by the local government.
But there is no medicine. Not even acetaminophen!
This is not unusual.
A few days ago I spoke with the local mayor, who lives in Plan Grande. He asked me when I was going to the US. He would like to find sources of assistance for the health center. There is no assigned doctor for the three health centers in the municipality, though there is a young doctor doing his year of social service.
Despite millions being poured into Honduras by the US government and other groups, the poor do not have decent access to health care. The military and the police get the funds, but what about the poor?
I recently noted that the US is sending 250 Marines to the US base in Palmerola, Honduras. (The US claims, though, that the base is Honduran and call it Soto Cano.) They are supposedly for hurricane relief – but are also meant to support the military here in counter-narcotics efforts. I have doubts about their presence - in an already highly-militarized country.
A final note: The center I visited is where the US military brigade came for two days in March.
They had lots of medicine. See my blog entry here.
But now: not even bandaids!