PROSALUD Celebrates 25th Anniversary

PROSALUD Celebrates 25th Anniversary

It is always very special to witness an idea blossom, a theory carried out in practice, a vision becoming a reality. Such occasions are all too rare and when you’re in one, you really feel like you are living a special moment in history.

Ron O’Connor, Founder of Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and I had this very distinct opportunity two weeks ago in Santa Cruz, Bolivia as we were honored to attend the 25th Anniversary Celebration of PROSALUD.  Over the last 25 years, MSH has been privileged to accompany PROSALUD in its successful journey from one small clinic dependent on outside donations to become one of Bolivia’s primer health care providers with 23 health centers and 5 clinics in 9 cities across the country. And, PROSALUD is financially independent and governed by its own Bolivian Board of Directors.

MSH’s role has been to provide technical assistance over the years in—planning, systems development, governance, quality standards, business planning, leadership, etc. To me what we did is not nearly as important as the way we did it. We did not build PROSALUD, they did and we were privileged to take a small part in it as advisors and coaches.

I wondered why this model has not been used in more countries. USAID has been a key partner in this success story— they should use the models in other settings. There have been other examples such ASHONPLAFA in Honduras, APROFAM in Guatemala, and others, but this is what good development is all about—we just need to do more of it.

A special treat for me was seeing Ron greeting old friends he (and MSH) have known for 25 years. Carlos Cuellar and Pillar Sebastian – co-founders of PROSALUD were there and to see these folks together gave me a real sense of contentment. Great people and a great accomplishment.

Photo: Ron O'Connor, Ruben Costas Aguilera (Governor of Santa Cruz),  Antonio Arrazola and Carlos Cuellar (Founding members of PROSALUD)

Tim Allen is Senior Director of Operations and Planning for the Center of Leadership and Management at MSH.