Santa Clotilde sits on the Napo River in Northeastern Peru, in a region inhabited by indigenous people. A settlement was established in 1904 by an Ecuadorian rubber baron. In the next several decades, in the government’s attempt to settle the region, they opened the land up to immigrants and a German was given the area of Santa Clotilde to establish an agricultural station. After WWII, and coincidental with the founding of the Vicariato Apostólico San José del Amazonas (VASJA), the Agricultural Station of Santa Clotilde was given by the Government of Peru to the Canadian Franciscans. In 1951, the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Angels of Quebec Canada took on the works of education and health in Santa Clotilde.
They provided medical attention to the river population for 40 years (until 1991) under the direction of several nurse-nuns. During this time, in 1965, a portion of the current Centro de Salud Santa Clotilde (CSSC) was completed. In 1986 the physician-priests Fr. Jack McCarthy from the Norbertines in Wisconsin and Fr. Maurice Schroeder from the Oblates in Canada established a de facto hospital. Since that time, additions have been made and now the CSSC includes a 30-bed hospital that includes a general medical area, a labor and delivery, an operating room, a clinic, and a laboratory. The CSSC is the head of a network of 12 health establishments along 400km of the Napo River and serves 100+ villages and a population of over 20,000. In 2010 there were 15,000 outpatient visits and 903 admissions to the hospital with 62 deliveries and 71 surgeries.Patients unable to be treated at the CSSC are stabilized and transferred to Iquitos via a one day boat trip and if needed flown to Lima, all of which is paid for by the CSSC. Patients are given a bill and all are expected make a form of payment-and some pay with chickens, labor,or whatever means they have.
The overall umbrella organization looking to provide sustainable care in the region is called PANGO (Peruvian Associates NGO.) PANGO is an network of several entities including the VASJA, the Peruvian Ministry of Health, The University of British Columbia and the friends of PANGO which are groups in Canada, the United States, Italy and of course Peru.