, , ,

Vida USA Brings Health Aid to Latin America


Vida USA, a nonprofit organization based in the Bay Area of California, brings health aid to Latin America. Volunteers for Inter-American Development Assistance (Vida USA) was founded in 1991 in response to a cholera outbreak traveling from Peru to North America.

In Pamplona Alto, Peru, 40,000 people live in shacks with no running water, toilets or sewage systems. Contaminated dirt roads, where children play with broken toys, are common. These children need vaccinations to enroll in school, but medical supplies and health care are very scarce.

Vida USA collects a surplus of medical supplies from Bay Area hospitals, medical clinics and individual volunteers at its warehouse in Emeryville, California. The medical equipment and medicine are then shipped overseas and used to provide free services for people living in poverty.

“What Vida does is we bring all the supplies and equipment they need on an ongoing basis,” said Vida-USA executive director, Adam See.

The mission of Vida USA is to help provide health aid to Latin America by sending medical supplies to its most vulnerable communities. The organization provides assistance to health institutions, which supports those in need. The non-profit organization accumulates tons of unused, viable medical supplies headed for local landfills and uses them to supply health aid to Latin America.

Another initiative revolves around the HIV virus that “[infects] children in Latin America at an alarming rate,” according to Vida. Many children are infected by their own mother’s breast milk. Milagro de Vida is a program created by Vida USA to provide infant formula to mothers with HIV and educate high school students about HIV causes and effects.

Through its program Puente de Vida, Vida USA organizes groups of volunteer doctors to provide free medical consultations, basic nutrition and pre-natal care, monthly and follow-up visits to address the primary health care needs of communities throughout Peru. The organization’s various programs clearly demonstrate its commitment to creating well-rounded health infrastructure in Peru.

Since 1991, Vida USA has worked with 1,200 health care facilities and social service programs shipping 200 containers, which are worth over $225 million in Latin America, throughout Peru.

Jackie Venuti

Photo: Flickr