The 2009 Annual Spring Fiesta raised close to £44,000 during the Special Appeal in aid of the Hospital San Andrés in Tumaco, Nariño. For some years now, Friends of Colombia for Social Aid has made an effort to help the Departments of Choco, Valle, Cauca and Nariño. This is an area with a high concentration of Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations which are socially and economically disadvantaged, particularly the people that live close to the Pacific Coast. San Andrés de Tumaco, founded by the Tumas, indigenous people who lived on the shores of the Mira River, is a remote municipality surrounded by mangrove near the sea and by jungle inland.
It is an area of beautiful beaches and impressive natural flora and fauna reserves known for their biodiversity. It lacks adequate infrastructure and basic services and, because of its geographical location, is prone to tsunamis and periods of torrential rain with severe flooding.
The hospital urgently needed medical equipment to improve maternal and neonatal treatment and reduce infant mortality rates. They attend to around 3,000 births per year; of these, 1,000 babies are born prematurely. Some 600 babies die at birth and of those that survive a further 600 do not live past their 5th birthday. Any complicated cases, which so often present themselves among infant and very young patients, had to be referred to a hospital in Pasto 5 hours away, for the simple reason that the San Andres hospital lacked the most essential items of equipment, vital for the treatment and even survival of many of its young patients.
Now, thanks to the generous contributions to the Appeal FOCSA have been able to equip a Special Care Unit for very sick newborn babies and small children. The donated equipment includes one Open and one Closed Incubator, a Transport Incubator, a Vital Signs Monitor, 2 Electrocardiographs, 2 Pulse-oximeters and 6 specialised cots.
The Director of the Hospital has sent the following thank you message to FOCSA and all our generous donors.