Anemia. Malnutrition. Respiratory problems. Parasites. These are the most common diseases at the Asoguabo clinic. The fairtrade premium pays for the clinic, the equipment and the doctors’ and nurses’ salaries. The service is free for the farmers and their families.
It’s 10.30. Doctor Enrique Macklife has already attended to 18 patients since the small clinic opened its doors at 8. And there’ll be more. In a regular four hour workday, he treats 25 patients, and his colleague treats as many in the afternoon. Every year, 8000 patients come to the Asoguabo clinic.
-Most of them have respiratory problems because of the chemicals the banana fields are sprayed with from the air. The workers, their families and the people who live near the plantations are affected.
That means practically everyone who lives in the countryside, because in the El Oro province the bananas grow everywhere.
Another big problem is the water. In the countryside it’s undrinkable and harmful for your health.
-Many have diarrhea and parasites because of the polluted water. Children can have up to seven or eight different parastites, says Macklife.
-Anemia and malnutrition are the biggest causes of death among children. They eat wrong. That’s why the preemptive care is important. We give the patients dietary advice to follow at home. A lot of iron, vegetables, plantains and vitamines. And we do a follow up every two months.
Asoguabo’s health program
- Is payed for with the fairtrade premium, which is one dollar per box of bananas sold.
- Pays for health insurance for all the farmers.
- Two clinics, one in El Guabo and one in the neighbour town Pasaje.
- Opened in august 2006.
- Open weekdays from 8 to 16.
- In El Guabo there are two doctors, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, one nurse, one receptionist and one cardiorespiratory therapist.
- Free healthcare for the Asoguabo farmers and their families.
- Others pay a dollar per visit.
- Public healthcare is free in Ecuador.
- A visit to a private clinic costs 10-20 dollars.