Socios En Salud / Peru


Doctor with child
A Peruvian Ministry of Health doctor examines a child patient at an SES clinic.

Weighing children at a neighborhood health center.

Since 1994, PIH’s sister organization in Peru, Socios En Salud (SES), has been treating disease and training community members to provide prevention and care for their neighbors in the shantytowns around Lima. Based in the northern Lima town of Carabayllo, SES is now Peru’s largest non-governmental healthcare organization, serving an estimated population of 700,000 inhabitants, many of whom have fled from poverty and political violence in Peru’s countryside. As a valued partner to Peru's Ministry of Health, SES has also had an impact on national policies for prevention and treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV and provides important training and support to help implement those policies nationwide.

Drawing on PIH’s experience with community-based tuberculosis treatment in rural Haiti, SES has achieved remarkable success in confronting an epidemic of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the slums of Lima. In the process, SES has saved thousands of lives, has overturned assumptions that treatment of MDR-TB is too expensive and too complicated to succeed in poor communities, and has instigated major changes in national and global health policies. Today, SES is a global leader in clinical and operational research on MDR-TB. SES has forged a strong partnership with the Peruvian Ministry of Health, and together, they have acheived the highest cure rate for MDR-TB in the world. SES is now providing training and support to assist the Ministry in extending community-based directly observed therapy nationwide, not only for MDR-TB patients but for people infected with HIV.

While supporting national programs to combat TB and HIV, SES has maintained and expanded a wide range of primary care and social support services in the shantytowns of Lima. The team operates 16 botiquines (small rural health posts) that serve patients who would otherwise have no access to primary care. Each of these botiquines is overseen by a local woman who has been trained as a health promoter to manage supplies of medicine and coordinate medical and psychological care with SES.

The network of neighborhood clinics also provide maternal and obstetrical care for women. The Salud Infantil ("Child Health") program brings health professionals to community clinics to offer treatment and regular checkups for children in the poorest areas.

SES also provides food baskets, transportation, lodging and social support for impoverished patients whose needs have been confirmed by an extensive interview and evaluation. The project also provides opportunities for income generation projects, job skills training, and small loans to start businesses. One example is Mujeres Unidas ("Women United"), a cooperative workshop that participates in crafts fairs in Peru and has sold handicrafts as far away as the United States, Japan and Switzerland.