This profile was prepared when Jaime Ibacache-Burgos was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Jaime promotes an approach to health care that takes into account local cultural knowledge and practice, ritual experiences, and sharing community resources. He promotes knowledge sharing between medical teams (doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, social workers, paramedics), local traditional healers, and the community; and thus ultimately a medical discipline with a more egalitarian approach. In his search for individual and collective empowerment, Jaime’s team promotes social participation in administrative management and proceedings of health programs. This encourages the sharing of knowledge between specialized bio-medical professionals and the local community. Jaime is also developing a plan to train future health professionals; generating a model that responds to the needs of rural populations. He has been able to convince Chile’s Ministry of Health to use his health care criteria in rural areas and in some urban areas where biomedical systems do not respond to the their needs. Each “medical round,” designed to deliver health care in rural areas, is made up of different specialists in addition to members of the community who make their contribution to the interpretation of symptoms and ailments, thus helping to reestablish the equilibrium of the patients. This team (Salud Colectiva) is composed of community members, such as midwifes, local healers, and various medical specialists that collectively bring knowledge about the social and cultural determinants of health and wellness processes. This approach strengthens family and community strategies that naturally protect human health, and generates a sociocultural path that strengthens the community.