San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Health Officials Meet With Indigenous Leaders

Officials from the Social Security System (Caja) presented their upcoming healthcare and infrastructure projects for indigenous communities of the Caribbean Limón province at a conference Tuesday and Wednesday.

The “Attention to Indigenous Peoples” conference took place in Guácimo, about halfway between San José and the Caribbean port of Limón.

Health authorities met with approximately 100 indigenous people representing organizations and communities throughout the Limón province, and an equal number of institutional leaders from health-care and other public-service programs, according to Grettel Rojas. She is the Caja’s coordinator of inter-institution relations for the Limón province, which includes eight indigenous reserves.

Leaders from different communities presented glimpses of their often-harsh social reality, while the public institutions spoke of upcoming infrastructure projects that would benefit the indigenous communities.

On behalf of Casa Presidencial, Mariángela Ortiz lent an ear to indigenous residents and said she would bring their concerns to the Executive Branch.

In a statement Aug. 17, the Caja said that ¢45 million ($87,000) of next year’s budget will go toward health care in the Talamanca Indigenous Reserve for “promotion, education and attention to all the problems endured by this geographic zone, a place accessible only by air or by several days of walking.” This means traveling medical brigades, Rojas said.

The public health-care system hopes to coordinate with other players in rural infrastructure to set up hanging footbridges, spring water pipes and public telephones, Rojas said.

These efforts are not specifically related to the Law for Autonomous Development of Indigenous Communities, a bill under discussion in the Legislative Assembly that would improve health care and other services in these communities (TT, Sept. 1).


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