The demand exceeds supply
Our doctors and nurses can treat up to 250 patients a day. That makes 5,000 a month or 60,000 in one year. But the demand is far greater. Daily we receive emails or phone-calls from across the country. People tell us about their physical needs and ask for an appointment.
We have a rule that we never make any appointments via internet of telephone. Every patient has to join the queue outside the hospital. The reason for this decision is simple: if we offered electronic entrance tickets, these would be quickly taken by the middle and upper classes and those people whom we primarily want to help, namely the Quechua-Indians, would go away empty-handed.
Rich patients have access to the private clinics in Peru’s metropoleis. The queue in front of the main entrance favours the financially less well-off patients. As they hardly have any other alternative, they wait patiently from the early hours of the day. Most of the upper class would not be prepared to do that.
Despite the fact that we treat more patients each successive year, no solution is apparent. For every one thankful patient who returns home, four of his/her neighbours, relatives or friends make their way to Curahuasi. Peru’s health system needs a radical overhaul: the insufficiency and corruption must be overcome. The patients do not want to be seen as customers, but as people rightly seeking respect and compassion. Peru still has a long way to go. /KDJ