RIO BENI HEALTH FOUNDATION
Who they are
The Rio Beni Health Foundation was initiated by Dr. Lou Netzer, a retired U.S. physician, in 1998. Since then the Rio Beni Health Foundation has grown into a full-time health clinic based in Rurrenabaque that also provides mobile health care to the surrounding communities. The clinic is run by Joselo Balderrama and his team of doctors and nurses.
What they do
The Rio Beni Health Foundation provides mobile primary health care, education, and potable water to over 60 remote villages in the Amazonian rainforest of northwest Bolivia. With the support of national and local health and political authorities, they provide healthcare to thousands of people, many of whom are indigenous. In the last decade, over 350 filters have been constructed, providing clean water to over 4500 villagers and school children.
Why they do it
The Rio Beni Health Foundation serves indigenous communities who have traditionally had no access primary health services and often suffer from treatable health conditions due to their remoteness. They are the only regular health care and public health education provider for tens of thousands of people.
While in Bolivia, SStS participants will support the Rio Beni Health Foundation’s clean water initiative, which provides potable water for the local populations using a unique bio-sand filter. The group will build bio-sand filters and deliver them to rural communities along the Amazon River. These filters dramatically reduce high levels of infant and child mortality, but at the same time, they are labor-intensive to construct and deliver.