Child Family Health International (CFHI) Bolivia: Pediatric Health
La Paz (and Tarija) | Bolivia
Bolivia-002 | Print This Position Description
Global Focus Grant: Recieve a $500 grant towards internships in Bolivia during the 2013-2014 academic year (Summer '13, Fall '13, Winter '14, and Spring '14). CFHI and IE3 Global Internships have partnered to offer a special 10-week program for students. Interns rotate through a variety of clinics throughout La Paz and the surrounding area. Focus on pediatrics, including adolescents. Intermediate Spanish level strongly recommended. Includes Spanish classes and homestays.
Note: It is possible to create a hybrid program, 5 weeks in La Paz and 5 weeks focusing on Chagas in Tarija. Read more below.
About the Organization
Founded in 1992 by Dr. Evaleen Jones, Child Family Health International offers educational and community health programs at 20+ sites in 6 countries. To date, their programs have 7000+ alumni from 35 countries.
IE3 works in partnership with CFHI to provide superior programs to students studying pre-medicine, pre-nursing and other health-related fields. The CFHI/IE3 combination program provides students with all of the benefits of IE3 program participation, as well as in-country support and guidance from CFHI.
IE3 Global Internships and Child Family Health International (CFHI) together offer an internship in La Paz, Bolivia focusing on Pediatric Health. The Pediatric Health program offers a holistic learning experience, which includes unique clinical rotations serving children and families, medical and conversational Spanish classes, and a home stay with a local family in La Paz. Students on this internship program will observe healthcare in a variety of setttings. The student role is primarily to observe and learn, although some basic patient care may be part of the duties.
Students will be immersed in the region's language and culture while participating in La Paz's healthcare system. Although students will be working with children for the most part, they will have the opportunity to see or participate in public health work addressing other aspects of poverty as well.
Interns will be in La Paz, living with a Bolivian family. Their time will be divided between language classes, lectures, and clinical rotations. The language school is responsible for arranging all host families and offering 60 hours of language classes. The program includes basic grammar and conversational Spanish, and Medical Spanish interviewing skills. Some classes may be taught in small groups, and others individually.
The language school also provides coordination for other activities such as salsa dancing classes, cooking classes, and tours of the city and important landmarks. Activities of this nature are not included as a part of the program fee. They may be available to arrange weekend trips for the students if there are enough interested, and are always available to give suggestions and guidance for things to do and see.
Dra. Cecilia Uribe de Chavez is the medical director for the Pediatric Health program in La Paz. Dra. Uribe is a Pediatrician, working in the Medical Cabinet of the Bolivian Air Force. She is currently the Secretary General of the Committee of Adolescents for the Bolivian Society of Pediatrics. Dra. Uribe is responsible for coordinating all clinical rotations and lectures for program participants.
The Executive Branch of the Centro Boliviano Americano is where your Spanish classes and weekly meetings are held. The person who will be in direct contact with participants on-site is the Supervisor of the Executive Branch, Mr. Gonzalo Claure; he will organize all academic and extra curricular activities that are requested.
Students and interns will be together as a group for case discussions and lectures, but may be in pairs for rotations and hospital work.
Doing More With Less- Healthcare in Remote Southern Bolivia (Tarija)
It is now possible to split your CFHI Bolivia internship into two distinct experiences. After approximately 5 weeks focusing on Pediatric Health in La Paz, travel to the more rural town of Tarija to participate in clinical rotations at primary and secondary level clinics.
CFHI’s program in Tarija, Bolivia provides students an opportunity to learn about rural and community health in this region. Students will participate in clinical rotations at primary and secondary level clinics throughout Tarija. The state of Tarija is unique in that it offers universal health insurance for all its inhabitants. This has created an enormous demand which at times cannot be met because of the lack of healthcare personnel and equipment. Students will witness first hand the difficulties in accessing healthcare services (cultural and socio-economic) and learn about the different pathologies that are prevalent in Southern Bolivia, such as Chagas, TB, parasitosis, etc.
While on the program, there will also be a strong focus on Chagas Disease, an infectious disease that is a major cause of death and disability in Latin America, but which is very rarely seen in industrialized countries. According to the CDC, an estimated 8 to 11 million people in Mexico, Central America, and South America are currently infected with Chagas. It is an infection which is often symptom-free and can be life-threatening if left untreated. Students will participate in prevention and epidemiological programs as well as clinical rotations where they will observe the various manifestations and stages of Chagas infection.
CFHI’s Chagas program in Tarija, Bolivia provides students an opportunity to learn about an infectious disease that is a major cause of death and disability in Latin America, but which is very rarely seen in industrialized countries. According to the CDC, an estimated 8 to 11 million people in Mexico, Central America, and South America are currently infected with Chagas. It is an infection which is often symptom-free and can be life-threatening if left untreated. Students will participate in prevention and epidemiological programs as well as clinical rotations where they will observe the various manifestations and stages of Chagas infection.
The health department of Tarija has an infant mortality rate of 53 per thousand births, the most frequent causes of death are preventable diseases. The prevalent pathologies in the area are Chagas or American Tripanosomiasis, malaria and tuberculosis. In more rural areas of Tarija like Yacuiba and Bermejo, dengue and hanta virus cases have also been detected.
A typical rotation may include:
Hospital Universitario San Juan de Dios- Located in the city center and housing a variety of wards, the teaching hospital receives students from throughout Bolivia as medical interns, nursing students, radiologists, dentists, etc., in addition to specialists in obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, and anesthesiology.
The tertiary care hospital is equipped with general wards as well as an intensive neonatal care unit, in which treatment of congenital chagas takes place. The unit serves the entire population of the Tarija region, particularly the impoverished and those with limited resources.
Servicio Departmental de Salud (Regional Health Service)- Overseen by the Ministry of Health and Sports, the SDS is the governing body for health standards; it is located in the city center near San Juan de Dios Hospital. The SDS houses offices for all of Bolivia’s health programs- control and prevention of chagas, malaria, and tuberculosis as well as an extensive immunization program and laboratories for epidemiology and entomology (the latter of which breeds and analyzes vinchucas [Triatoma infestans], vector for the transmission of Chagas)
# of Positions per term
4-6; apply early for summer
Winter 2013: Jan 5 - March 16; Spring 2013: March 30 - June 8; Summer 2013: July 6 - Sept 14; Fall 2013: Sept 28 - Dec 7
Duration of Internship
Pre-med students with some prior experience and exposure in the health field. Master's in Public Health students. Nursing students.
Advanced First Aid and/or Nursing Assistant training are very helpful. Prior international studies and travel also recommended.
Some Spanish required (minimum completion of first year university level Spanish), the more the better. The program will provide Spanish language training and Medical Spanish.
Cultural sensitivity and competency with respect to Bolivian society and culture are necessary. Applicants must normally be at least 20 at the time of their internship. The IE3 Regional Director may recommend candidates under 20 who clearly demonstrate a high degree of cross-cultural competency and personal maturity. In every case, though, CFHI reserves the right to make the final determination.
Total costs vary depending on how long you plan to be abroad, where you will be living, your personal spending habits, and current exchange rates. The following estimates will give you a ballpark figure for this internship. Get help with the math from our handy Cost Calculator.
ALL ESTIMATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
IE3 Program Fee
The IE3 program fee is $3450 for the first term for both in-state and out-of-state students and $1000 for each additional term, regardless of credit earned. You do not pay tuition for the term(s) you are abroad. Visit your University's IE3 page for details, costs for additional terms, and campus administrative fees.
Estimated One-Time Expenses
|Host Site Fees||
$4690 (includes room and 2 meals/day)
*See Additional Cost Information below.
Estimated Monthly Expenses
Additional Expense Information
- If you choose the hybrid La Paz/Tarija program, you will need to pay for own transport to Tarija. A RT flight from La Paz-Tarija costs around $200.
The host site fee from CFHI includes:
•Room and board for 10 weeks (homestay and breakfast/dinner with host family)
•Weekly meetings with Medical Director and Local Coordinator
•Use of a mobile phone
•Local transportation to and from the clinics from a central location (public transportation costs to the central location from the homestay are the responsibility of the intern)
Previous intern powerpoint presentation: InternshipPresentationKatieRice.pdf
Previous Intern Reports:
Important Notes: To come to this area, interns must have Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A and B vaccines.
Bolivia is a land-locked country bordering Brazil, Peru, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. La Paz is the capital with a population of just over a million people. La Paz lies between two geographical regions, the Altiplano, the high mountain ranges of the west, and Las Yungas, a region of mid-elevation valleys. Bolivia is one of the poorest and underdeveloped countries in Latin America. Seasons in Bolivia are opposite those of the north, and the average temperature in La Paz is 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18C).
Today La Paz is a vibrant city, growing and expanding in all directions. Although vibrant and growing, the city is rife with poverty, malnutrition, and poor sanitation. Bolivia is the poorest country in South America and is home to a large population of children without access to adequate healthcare. Many of them are street and working childrenuntended children and adolescents who struggle to survive on the streets as well as children of desperately poor families in which all members must contribute to meet basic survival needs.
Field Notes Postings:
IE3 intern heads to Medical School written about Ann Oluloro, a graduate of the University of Oregon who interned with IE3's Child Family Health International (CFHI) Bolivia: Pediatric Health in La Paz, Bolivia (May 29, 2012).
My Very Long Journey Home by Megan Simpkins: University of Oregon student and IE3 Intern (May 30, 2011)
Week 7: Hospital San Lorenzo by Megan Simpkins: University of Oregon student and IE3 Intern (February 28, 2011)
General Pediatrics in La Paz by Ann Oluloro: University of Oregon Student and IE3 Scholarship Recipient (July 26, 2010)
Check mark! by Ann Oluloro: University of Oregon Student and IE3 Scholarship Recipient (October 15, 2010)