San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

New Clinic to Serve Cabécar Indigenous Community

RECEIVING medical care just goteasier for those living in deep in the Chirripómountains – a new three-building complexin the Caribbean slope town of Granode Oro, designed to provide health servicesto 9,000 people, opened its doors Nov. 4.Funded by the British Embassy, theclinic was designed to replace a smallbasic health-care center (EBAIS) that wasshut down by the Public Health Ministrylast year for not meeting standards.The new medical complex promises toimprove health care for Cabécar indigenouspeople in the Chirripó area, many of whomlive in rural areas far removed from townand therefore must walk long distances tothe nearest clinic, British Embassy PublicAffairs Officer Bruce Callow said.The Social Security System (Caja)will staff the complex with doctors, aswell as provide medical equipment andfurniture. Caja doctors regularly takehikes into the Chirripó mountains tovisit remote homes and provide basiccare, and will now be able to use theclinic as a home base.In addition to the main clinic, thecomplex includes a building where thosewho have had to make a long trek canspend the night, free of charge, beforereturning home. Though the medical complexwas planned with the needs of theCabécar community in mind, its servicesare available to anyone living east of thePacuare River.Aside from providing medical care,the complex also has an educational,community outreach focus. A third buildingwill provide office space for organizationsworking with the Chirripó communityto provide legal, social and educationalsupport. The Costa Rican BarAssociation will give regular informationalsessions to inform the Cabécar of landrights and other pertinent legal issues.

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