Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and delegates from
Italy inaugurated on Monday a ‘floating hospital’ boat that will travel
around the Pacific region of Colombia to bring medical care to remote
The boat, which will operate out of Buenaventura, the capital of the Valle del Cauca depratment, will provide medical assisantace to some 2,500 people in the region.
“Where there are hospitals, there is no great need, but the the boat is going to places where there are no hospitals, only small populations and settlements on the riverbanks of rivers in the Pacific region,” Uribe said at the inauguration.
The program is funded by the Italian San Raffaele foundation along with footballer Ivan Ramiro Cordoba. Uribe said he was interested in turning the private venture into a public service.
Social Welfare Minister Diego Palacio said the service as it stands will run for a year and a half.
“We will run two medical missions a month, each ten days long,” he explained.
Uribe added that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had promised to build a second boat to bring medical assistance to remote communities on the Magdalena river and along the Atlantic coast.
The twenty by seven meter vessel will start traveling on June 27.