You are here

Dr Luther Castillo update: Takeover of Indigenous Garifuna Community Hospital in Honduras

However, he said the staff is staying put, and vows to continue working, even without the small stipend the government had provided in the past and with no guarantee of medicines or vital supplies.

"We will not abandon our people," said Dr. Castillo. "These are the poorest of the poor, the invisible poor. They are the real victims of the coup," he told MEDICC. "And they are the reason so many of our young people decided to become doctors in the first place."

Some 300 representatives of local Garifuna governments gathered last week to support the hospital and its staff, and have declared they will not recognize the defacto government's takeover move. The Garifuna hospital officially opened in December 2007, under an agreement with the government of President Manuel Zelaya, and in accordance with an International Labor Organization covenant that supports locally-managed health services for indigenous and tribal peoples. Since then, according to Dr. Castillo, the ten Garifuna doctors staffing the hospital have treated over 175,000 cases. The physicians-all graduates of the Latin American Medical School in Havana-attend patients at outlying clinics and on regular home visits.

The original government agreement permitted this medically underserved region to rely on hospital services, including birthing, surgeries, hospitalization, dental care and laboratory tests.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

MEDICC is joining other U.S. organizations such as Global Links to stand with the staff and over 30,000 patients of the only Garifuna Community Hospital in Honduras.

Here's what you can do:

  • DONATE to keep the hospital alive. Your donation to Honduras' First Garifuna Hospital will help pay small stipends to physicians and nurses' aides, and help stock the hospital with essential medicines and supplies. More information.
  • SPEAK UP! Take this message to your city council, labor union, student or professional organization, asking them to pass a resolution in support of the Garifuna Indigenous Hospital in Honduras. Send these resolutions to us, and publicize them in your local media and on the web.
  • GET READY TO GO on a delegation to Honduras as a "Witness for Health" to help guarantee the safety and rights of the Garifuna hospital staff. More information coming soon.
  • Keep Honduras in the public eye: Circulate this alert widely. GO ON THE WEB: use your blogs, listserves and networks to get the word out.

ACTION ALERT: DEMAND SAFETY FOR HONDURAN DOCTOR LUTHER CASTILLO

News and Analysis: 
Type: