Volunteers Abroad," Baca Ortiz was founded July 14, 1948. Approximately 140,000 children are treated at the hospital annually. Families come from around the country to the facility, because it offers specialized treatment that is not available in other regions.
The hospital has a paid staff of doctors and nurses, as well as a number of volunteers with a range of skills, from medical professionals, to individuals who visit with the children, to those who help fund raise for the most needy families.
Although Baca Ortiz receives funds from the government, it is significantly under-funded, and families are therefore required to pay for the treatment they receive at the facility.
For many families, this simply means going without sufficient treatment. According to the CIA World Factbook, 33.1% of Ecuadorians live below the poverty line. Many more make enough to be deemed above the line, but are underemployed and still struggle to provide for their families on a daily basis. Additionally, income disparities are extremely pronounced between various regions of the country and between different racial groups.
Some families have little hope of paying for treatment once they have received a diagnosis, and they go home without assistance. Others may gain funding through organizations that donate specifically for their treatment, such as The Mashi Foundation, which used social workers to identify ten children of highest priority and funded the surgeries for those children in 2010. Assuming that 33.1% of the 140,000 children who visit the hospital in a given year are impoverished, as is the case with the general population, that would be 46,000 impoverished children who come through the doors. Ten funded surgeries is an amazing thing, but it is astonishing to realize that the figure represents only 0.02% of children who are likely too poor to afford treatment at Baca Ortiz. My understanding is that such donated funding is sporadic, at best. Since the need for this type of financial intervention is so overwhelming, the situation is quite desperate and the poorest may never obtain the assistance they need.
I would be interested to hear if you know have ideas about how the hospital can best use its funds. What are ways this conundrum is being addressed in other nations? What has been proven to work? Do you have any novel ideas yourself?