San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Heredia Residents Demand New Hospital

MEDICAL workers, patients, residentsand representatives of theUniversidad Nacional (UNA) in Herediaall agree a new hospital is urgently neededin this northern Central Valley town.The university joined in the clamorthis week for a new hospital to alleviatethe overcrowding and unsanitary conditionsof the current building, which isnearly 114 years old. UNA representativescited the “limitations” of the currentbuilding and the tremendous growth of theprovince’s population.The demand for health services inHeredia has risen 100% in the past 10years, according to the daily La Nación.The hospital began with 50 beds, now has163 and serves a population of 420,000.Patients and employees at the publicSan Vicente de Paul Hospital complainof rat droppings, cockroaches squishedamong the “sterile” patients’ gownswhere there is no space to hang themproperly, biting mites, pigeons betweenthe ceiling and the roof attracted by termites’sawdust, and long waits for non emergencysurgeries, according to LaNación.The president of the Social SecuritySystem (Caja), Alberto Sáenz, said $33million is available for a new building.A plot of land has been assigned to thefuture building, however, the quotesreceived for the design, construction andoutfitting of the hospital surpass the budgetby $14-16 million.Now, a committee of Caja chiefs isstudying the most economical options,including a redesign of the project tomake it fit the budget.

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