Fundacion Arco Iris began it’s work in 1994 working with the street children of La Paz. The glaring medical needs of these neglected children became so evident that Arco Iris decided to open a hospital ” that serves the entire population with special attention to the children from and on the streets giving excellent services in the most vulnerable areas…”. Hospital Arco Iris (HAI) opened it’s doors in 2001 as a 100-bed full service hospital including adult medical surgical floors, a pediatric wing, adult ICU, NICU, surgical suites and a busy emergency room. It provides over 800,000 free visits a year with 60% of the care being offered to children under the age of 18 years old. In 2011, the hospital had 176,326 ambulatory consults and 3,209 surgeries. The extensive community outreach to La Paz is fulfilled in a large part by it’s four ambulatory clinics that made 77,998 visits last year. The ambulances have scheduled routes where the children from the streets find a trusted place for care. They come whether it is for treatment of an illness or for care and bandaging after a street fight the night before.
The mobile clinics also service the penitentiary system. When an adult is convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison in La Paz, they often have no place to take their children for care so their children go with them to prison for as long as their term lasts or until they age-out. The jails are filled with children and each week the Arco Iris mobile units visit them and the staff of doctors and nurses care for the children.
In every corner of La Paz, the benevolent arm of Hospital Arco Iris is felt, serving those who are helpless and cannot serve themselves.