A Look Back on 2018
Happy 2019 from Solidarity Bridge!
We are thrilled to launch our 20th year of training, equipping, healing, and serving alongside our Bolivian partners in our shared mission to increase access to safe, affordable surgery and other essential health care.
But before we do that, join us in celebrating our biggest highlights of this past year.
In 2018 …
Over 11 tons of specially selected, high-value medical equipment and supplies were delivered to Bolivia. This includes a full shipping container with almost 9 tons of supplies and 2.5 tons of instruments and equipment hand-carried by missioners on 7 mission trips, and even a full laparoscopic tower shipped directly from Germany to Cochabamba!
In addition to the doctor-to-doctor training in the operating room—the hallmark of our work—training activities in 2018 included a Neurosurgery Boot Camp course to certify competencies in specific skills. We also hosted a Biomedical Mission Trip to train Bolivian engineers and technicians in the proper maintenance and repair of complex equipment required in the operating room.
Hospital partnerships expanded in 2018 to include the only two public cancer hospitals in all of Bolivia, located in Santa Cruz and Sucre, as well as small municipal hospitals in increasingly remote locations such as the towns of Comarapa, San Julián, El Torno, and San Martín de Porres, among others.
More than 350 Bolivian women, men, and children received healing surgeries. More than half of those surgeries, a total of 177, took place during 11 mobile laparoscopic surgery campaigns organized by our partner Puente de Solidaridad. Bolivian surgeons and their teams headed these surgeries, dedicating more than two months of their time in 2018 to personally deliver care to underserved communities. Surgical and medical supplies were distributed to an additional 146 individual patients and 38 partner doctors, and 18 Bolivian hospitals and clinics received bulk donations, multiplying the number of people served.
we CHALLENGED OURSELVES.
In 2018, we also took a hard look inward, challenging ourselves and our community to fully embrace and embody the year’s theme of We Are One/Somos Uno. At Missioner Day in September and our Board-Staff Retreat in December, we posed new ways of conceiving and approaching our work with our partners in Bolivia and Paraguay. We strive to be ever more focused on Catholic social teachings, especially our central principle of solidarity, which affirms that, “We are one human family whatever our cultural, economic, and ideological differences. We are our neighbors’ keepers, wherever they may be.” We also explored the complementary principle of subsidiarity: the idea that needs should be defined and resolved at the most local level possible, a principle that calls Solidarity Bridge to look always toward our Bolivian partners to direct and guide our work.
Thank you for your central role in all of these achievements. And if you haven’t done so yet, mark your calendars for May 4 when we’ll gather to celebrate 20 years of achievements at our annual Fiesta Gala!