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Annual Review 2005

A healthy future
SOS Medical Centres play an important role within the community, offering HIV/AIDS testing and counselling, running information campaigns on the risks of infection and providing free or inexpensive ARV (anti-retroviral) medication. As well as these key elements, SOS Medical Centres provide basic medical care for the local population through vaccination programmes, maternity facilities and guidance on nutrition and hygiene.

SOS Mother and Child Clinic, San Ignacio, Paraguay

Infant and maternal mortality rates are high in Paraguay. Many women and young children, especially those in rural areas, do not have access to health services, midwives, doctors or paediatricians. One quarter of births are not attended by a skilled professional. SOS Children’s Villages built Paraguay’s first Mother and Child Clinic in 1978 and has since opened two more.

Over 25, 000 people supported in the local community through SOS Medical Clinic in San Ignacio

Monetary crises and government corruption have hampered Paraguay’s social and economic development. Around 60% of the population officially live in poverty and 14% of children have stunted growth caused by malnutrition. The rural population suffer most: subsistence agriculture does not bring in an income and health services are scarce. This is the case in San Ignacio, a small district in the south of the country.

The SOS Mother and Child Clinic in San Ignacio supports 25,000 people a year, some of whom come from as far as 60 miles away for treatment. Although the clinic is well-known, local radio is used to inform people about it and its services. Radio is a successful way of communicating in rural areas being easily accessible and able to convey information regardless of literacy.

There are five examination rooms at the SOS clinic, alongside 62 beds (24 of which are for infants), a laboratory and a pharmacy. There is also a delivery room, an operating theatre for minor
surgery, an x-ray and ultrasound laboratory and a ward with three incubators and two heated beds for premature babies. We work in conjunction with the local health authority regarding complex cases. Twice a week, a civil servant from the Civil Registry visits to officially record new births.

Health education classes are run at the clinic to give local people the knowledge they need to keep themselves healthy and safe. Adults, both young and old, are educated about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV/AIDS,reproductive health, pregnancy and gender equality. The clinic provides reproductive health services to anyone from the community who needs them.

Alongside the Mother and Child Clinic in San Ignacio, there are two SOS Children’s Villages in Paraguay, one of which is for children with special needs, in addition to an SOS Youth Home, an SOS Nursery School and an SOS Vocational Training Centre offering nursing courses.

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