Chilean Navy and Non-Profit Provide Medical Care to Thousands

Chilean Navy and Non-Profit Provide Medical Care to Thousands

By Dialogo
February 12, 2015




The Chilean Navy and non-profit organization Fundación Acrux are working in cooperation to carry out a medical relief operation in the country's northern region of Arica in the spring.

Plans call for 123 physicians with various specialties to arrive at the port in early May to provide free medical consultations to as many as 10,000 people.

The mission is not an isolated event, but part of a broad, ongoing, collaborative effort by the Chilean Navy and the non-profit organization to provide health care to the civilian population throughout the country.

From April 28 to May 3, the Chilean Naval ship LSDH-91 Sargento Aldea will be at the port of Arica, 2,070 kilometers north of Santiago. The medical personnel who will carry out the relief operation will be based on the ship, according to a January 10 press statement from the Administrative Office of the Arica and Parinacota Region.

“The medical exams will benefit the people of Arica who have been waiting for medical care for months or years,” said Roberto Levín, Executive Director of Fundación Acrux and lieutenant commander in Chile's Naval Reserves.

“This option has never been seen before in the region; it will be a big step for health care,” according to Emilio Rodríguez, representative for the Arica and Parinacota Region.

Chilean Navy provides logistical support


The Chilean Navy is playing a key role in the medical relief effort. It will transport the health professionals –a combination of retired Navy doctors and civilian physicians– to the different areas where they will treat patients, and also provide transportation for patients who need such assistance.

Some of the people live in areas where there are no roads, so in emergency situations, the Navy will transport patients by helicopter.

In the cooperative effort, the Navy will also provide logistical resources and infrastructure for the mission, according to Fundación Acrux, a Chilean non-profit organization dedicated to undertaking social and medical operations along the country.

Medical treatment will be provided aboard the Sargento Aldea and ashore at Juan Noé Hospital.

The Navy’s large floating hospital is 168 meters long, with a capacity to transport 450 people, though it can accommodate up to 700 people for short trips.

This military vessel’s main feature is its internal well deck, which covers three quarters of the entire length of the ship.

The Sargento Aldea has two operating rooms, a recovery room with four beds, a hospitalization room with 51 beds, an X-ray room, a laboratory, a sterilization room, a dental clinic, and other modern facilities.

During the intense six-day medical relief operation, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, nephrologists, pediatricians, urologists, radiologists, endocrinologists, ophthalmologists, and other leading specialists will provide care to the community, which is also known as the “City of Eternal Spring”.

The doctors will diagnose patients, provide treatment, and dispense medication if needed.

An ongoing cooperative effort


The mission is part of an ongoing collaboration to provide health care to the civilian population throughout the country.

“These health services are the result of joint efforts between the Chilean Navy, Fundación Acrux, the Ministry of Health and various entrepreneurs,” said Levín. “The operation aims to eliminate 90 percent of the patient waiting lists in Arica.”

The Chilean Navy signed a cooperation agreement with Fundación Acrux, which is responsible for coordinating health services provided by Navy physicians, former Navy officers and civilian physicians in locations where public health systems require greater support.

The agreement “seals the commitment and willingness of the Chilean Navy and medical specialists of the Naval Reserves to thousands of fellow citizens in isolated areas who have been in need of permanent healthcare support,” Secretary of the Navy Vice Admiral Leonel Muñoz, told the magazine Nuestro
in August 2014.

This type of cooperation is not new. In recent years, the Chilean Navy and Fundación Acrux have carried out more than 50 such operations, which provided 1,800 surgical procedures in various regions of the country. In 2014 alone, the Navy and the non-profit foundation cooperated on eight medical relief operations which provided health care to 18,000 patients.

In 2015, Fundación Acrux and the Navy are scheduled carry out eight social and medical relief operations. The first one was carried out from January 21-25 in Puerto Aysén, in southern Chile. The one in Arica is the second relief operation in their list.

The other relief operations will take place in Puerto Edén, Puerto Natales, Porvenir, Punta Arenas, Antofagasta, Tocopilla, Mejillones, Constitución, Cauquenes, Chiloé, Aysén, Coyhaique and the Juan Fernández Islands. They will provide nearly 36,000 medical consultations, including about 1,000 surgical procedures, according to Chilean daily Papel Digital.


“The Navy is receiving attention and support because they are using their capabilities to provide medical care, even in communities that otherwise can’t be reached," Levín said. "Medical help is very welcome. The smiles on people’s faces is our payment. Upon leaving, after receiving care, patients tell us, 'God bless you sailors'. Every life that we save in each of the relief operations is a major achievement.”

Addressing a need among the civilian population for health care


Fundación Acrux keeps track of the demand on public health systems through the Undersecretary of Health Care Networks and Regional Health Services.

The cooperative effort is helping address a need for heath care throughout the country. There are about 1.8 million people in need of outpatient care, in need of services ranging from medical exams to surgery, according to Papel Digital.


The medical relief operation in Arica will be part of the Chilean Navy's activities for their annual “Mes del Mar” (Month of the Sea) celebrations, which promote patriotism, the Navy, and the important role it has played in the country's history. The event recognizes how the country's economic, social, and cultural history is directly related to its more than 5,000-kilometer coastline.

By cooperating with Fundación Acrux, the Chilean Navy is contributing to the social well-being of the country.

“We must all be part of the solution,” to provide healthcare, Levín said.



The Chilean Navy and non-profit organization Fundación Acrux are working in cooperation to carry out a medical relief operation in the country's northern region of Arica in the spring.

Plans call for 123 physicians with various specialties to arrive at the port in early May to provide free medical consultations to as many as 10,000 people.

The mission is not an isolated event, but part of a broad, ongoing, collaborative effort by the Chilean Navy and the non-profit organization to provide health care to the civilian population throughout the country.

From April 28 to May 3, the Chilean Naval ship LSDH-91 Sargento Aldea will be at the port of Arica, 2,070 kilometers north of Santiago. The medical personnel who will carry out the relief operation will be based on the ship, according to a January 10 press statement from the Administrative Office of the Arica and Parinacota Region.

“The medical exams will benefit the people of Arica who have been waiting for medical care for months or years,” said Roberto Levín, Executive Director of Fundación Acrux and lieutenant commander in Chile's Naval Reserves.

“This option has never been seen before in the region; it will be a big step for health care,” according to Emilio Rodríguez, representative for the Arica and Parinacota Region.

Chilean Navy provides logistical support


The Chilean Navy is playing a key role in the medical relief effort. It will transport the health professionals –a combination of retired Navy doctors and civilian physicians– to the different areas where they will treat patients, and also provide transportation for patients who need such assistance.

Some of the people live in areas where there are no roads, so in emergency situations, the Navy will transport patients by helicopter.

In the cooperative effort, the Navy will also provide logistical resources and infrastructure for the mission, according to Fundación Acrux, a Chilean non-profit organization dedicated to undertaking social and medical operations along the country.

Medical treatment will be provided aboard the Sargento Aldea and ashore at Juan Noé Hospital.

The Navy’s large floating hospital is 168 meters long, with a capacity to transport 450 people, though it can accommodate up to 700 people for short trips.

This military vessel’s main feature is its internal well deck, which covers three quarters of the entire length of the ship.

The Sargento Aldea has two operating rooms, a recovery room with four beds, a hospitalization room with 51 beds, an X-ray room, a laboratory, a sterilization room, a dental clinic, and other modern facilities.

During the intense six-day medical relief operation, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, nephrologists, pediatricians, urologists, radiologists, endocrinologists, ophthalmologists, and other leading specialists will provide care to the community, which is also known as the “City of Eternal Spring”.

The doctors will diagnose patients, provide treatment, and dispense medication if needed.

An ongoing cooperative effort


The mission is part of an ongoing collaboration to provide health care to the civilian population throughout the country.

“These health services are the result of joint efforts between the Chilean Navy, Fundación Acrux, the Ministry of Health and various entrepreneurs,” said Levín. “The operation aims to eliminate 90 percent of the patient waiting lists in Arica.”

The Chilean Navy signed a cooperation agreement with Fundación Acrux, which is responsible for coordinating health services provided by Navy physicians, former Navy officers and civilian physicians in locations where public health systems require greater support.

The agreement “seals the commitment and willingness of the Chilean Navy and medical specialists of the Naval Reserves to thousands of fellow citizens in isolated areas who have been in need of permanent healthcare support,” Secretary of the Navy Vice Admiral Leonel Muñoz, told the magazine Nuestro
in August 2014.

This type of cooperation is not new. In recent years, the Chilean Navy and Fundación Acrux have carried out more than 50 such operations, which provided 1,800 surgical procedures in various regions of the country. In 2014 alone, the Navy and the non-profit foundation cooperated on eight medical relief operations which provided health care to 18,000 patients.

In 2015, Fundación Acrux and the Navy are scheduled carry out eight social and medical relief operations. The first one was carried out from January 21-25 in Puerto Aysén, in southern Chile. The one in Arica is the second relief operation in their list.

The other relief operations will take place in Puerto Edén, Puerto Natales, Porvenir, Punta Arenas, Antofagasta, Tocopilla, Mejillones, Constitución, Cauquenes, Chiloé, Aysén, Coyhaique and the Juan Fernández Islands. They will provide nearly 36,000 medical consultations, including about 1,000 surgical procedures, according to Chilean daily Papel Digital.


“The Navy is receiving attention and support because they are using their capabilities to provide medical care, even in communities that otherwise can’t be reached," Levín said. "Medical help is very welcome. The smiles on people’s faces is our payment. Upon leaving, after receiving care, patients tell us, 'God bless you sailors'. Every life that we save in each of the relief operations is a major achievement.”

Addressing a need among the civilian population for health care


Fundación Acrux keeps track of the demand on public health systems through the Undersecretary of Health Care Networks and Regional Health Services.

The cooperative effort is helping address a need for heath care throughout the country. There are about 1.8 million people in need of outpatient care, in need of services ranging from medical exams to surgery, according to Papel Digital.


The medical relief operation in Arica will be part of the Chilean Navy's activities for their annual “Mes del Mar” (Month of the Sea) celebrations, which promote patriotism, the Navy, and the important role it has played in the country's history. The event recognizes how the country's economic, social, and cultural history is directly related to its more than 5,000-kilometer coastline.

By cooperating with Fundación Acrux, the Chilean Navy is contributing to the social well-being of the country.

“We must all be part of the solution,” to provide healthcare, Levín said.
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