Santo Domingo, Ecuador, is a community of 400,000 with another 100-200,000 commuter population from the surrounding countryside. The unmet demand for healthcare services is great, and was confirmed by a report from the Haas School of Business from the University of California-Berkeley in 2010. Currently there is an 80 bed IESS hospital and 150 Ministry of Health hospital beds available in the region. Using an international average of approximately one hospital bed per 1000 population, the need continues to be unmet.
The goal of Hospital Hesburgh in Santo Domingo is not to replace the state, rather to fill gaps where certain populations have limited access. Such is the case in Santo Domingo.
Furthermore, HH provides services not yet available in Santo Domingo, specifically palliative care services for end of life issues to allow people to die with care, compassion, and dignity within the context of their and their family’s wishes.
Additionally, Saludesa built Hesburgh Hospital as a teaching hospital. During its 15 year history of working in another rural area in the northwest Pichincha region, Saludesa discovered the difficulty of recruiting high quality physicians to the region. Saludesa began a family medicine residency training program jointly with the Catholic University of Quito (PUCE) in 2008, training physicians in a way to appreciate the rural context, which is significantly more challenging than the urban setting. Through HH, Saludesa expects to expand its residency training program and collaborate with the Minsitry of Health of Ecuador in the training of 1,000 new family physicians to work in the countryside. Its academic partners in the United States are the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern University.