April 05, 2011

Global Action Lived Locally: A Case Study from Lima, Peru

The following profile features an example of Sisters of Mercy of Australia Global Action programme in Lima Peru.


Photo: Sisters Patricia McDermott (North Sydney), Nerida Tinkler (Institute President) and Joan Doyle (North Sydney).

Sr. Joan Doyle is a Sister of Mercy from the North Sydney Province of the Australian Institute. She is now Director of the Mercy Family Health Service (MFHS) based in Lima Peru.

The Mercy Family Health Service was established in 2002 to provide a quality basic health care system to the poor that is dignified, compassionate and caring. Situated in areas where there are high levels of contamination with no paved roads, running water or sewage facilities, many illnesses are related to environmental factors and poverty e.g. skin and respiratory problems, parasites etc.

Since it began on 16 July 2002 the MFHS has offered 32,000 consultations in general medicine. A large proportion of patients are children under five years of age and women 25 -35 years. The centre offers pediatric, gynecology, and dermatology consultations, Pharmacy services, a basic laboratory service, radiology, speech therapy, relaxation therapy, a nutrition programme and a dental service. There is a social worker and psychologist at the centre providing specialist care. Legal advice is also provided.

Mercy Family Health Service Centre, (MFHSC) Lima, Peru

As well as offering primary health care to the local residents of Cerro Candela and surrounding districts the Mercy Family Health Service offers specialist outreach health campaigns where Doctors give their services free or at low cost for people who would not normally be able to afford these services.

Examples of these health campaigns include

  • Anti-Cervical Cancer Vaccination Campaign for girls aged 10 – 14 years.
  • Papanicolau (PAP smears) Campaign for women
  • Health Campaigns in general medicine, pediatrics, urology, ophthalmology, dermatology, dental (children) and laboratory analysis.
  • Campaign to register undocumented People with Disability
Opening Cermony – MFHSC, Lima

Community health education with special emphasis on prevention has been a priority for the MFHS. A team of 25 trained volunteer health promoters give free talks on topics such as women’s health and family planning, nutrition, prevention of AIDS and STDs, dental health, respiratory illnesses, asthma and allergies, women’s rights and violence against women etc

Several groups have been organized in the centre offering services targeted at the specific group. These include a Senior Citizens’ Group, a People with Special Needs Group, an Ecology Group and an Adolescent Pregnancy Support Group. The Mercy Family Health Service operates out of philosophy that health is a right not a privilege.


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