Posted by: calloftheandes | October 30, 2012

Ecuadorian Missionary Physician Named Provincial Health Director

Dr. Claudia Avila

Dr. Claudia Avila is the new Director of Health of Ecuador’s Pastaza province after a swearing-in ceremony Friday, Oct. 5, with Ecuador’s Health Minister, Carina Vance, in the provincial capital of Puyo.

A medical missionary, Avila was working as an attending doctor in the outpatient clinic of HCJB Global’s Hospital Vozandes del Oriente (Hospital Vozandes-Shell) when offered the position by Health Ministry officials.

“They were attracted to not only her fine medical work but to her well known integrity as well,” said her husband, Dr. David Graham. “She carries a passion for people who needed attention in all areas of life: mind, body, and spirit.” Even as Avila has begun her new responsibilities with the province, Graham continues his work as a surgeon at the Shell hospital.

Avila replaced Dr. Kléber Gavilánez, who held the Pastaza health post for six years. In installing Avila, Vance reviewed the progress on a Health Ministry hospital in Puyo. Construction is under way with plans to open the hospital in 2013. “The country has more than 140 hospitals with excellent infrastructure,” said Vance.

Dr. Avila was installed as Health Director of Pastaza Province by Carina Vance, who leads Ecuador’s Health Ministry. (photo credit: Ministry of Health)

Avila told attendees at the ceremony that she aims to contribute to health programs implementation, aimed at improving the quality of life of people living in jungle communities scattered throughout the province.

“Through a coordinated effort we can serve the community and carry out the project of the national government,” she said.

Avila is a medical graduate of Universidad Central del Ecuador (Central University). In addition to her medical training, she recently completed a master’s degree at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (Catholic University) in public health, according to Graham, whose asks that mission donors and friends pray for his wife in her position of influence.

“This will require much prayer for strength and wisdom,” Graham said.

Claudia Avila with her husband, David Graham

Avila’s appointment to the health post this year follows the May 2012 recognition by Ecuador’s Social Security Institute of the mission hospital for its efficient operations that safeguard the health and safety of 67 staff members at the facility in the country’s eastern rainforest.

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