More than 500 Medical Services Provided in San Pedro de Atacama Thanks to the AMA Program

More than 500 Medical Services Provided in San Pedro de Atacama Thanks to the AMA Program


The initiative was organized by the Advisory Committee of the Alliance for Atacameña Women (AMA) through the Health Working Group and is supported by the Traesol Foundation. The temporary specialty clinic was aimed at people requiring attention in the areas of ophthalmology, geriatrics, orthopedics, dermatology and others.

Bringing different medical specialties to San Pedro de Atacama is the new challenge taken on by SQM’s AMA Program for the coming year 2023 in the aftermath of the pandemic. In 2022 its Advisory Committee took an important step in charting this path: the first health initiative, which, including medical examinations and appointments, provided 549 appointments in specialties such as ophthalmology, geriatrics, orthopedics, speech therapy, otorhinolaryngology, physical therapy, internal medicine and dermatology.

In all, 282 people were assisted, including María Soledad, who commented: “I have many illnesses, the most important of which is osteoarthritis, which has unfortunately not been seen by the public health system. Today I am on the waiting list and there are 179 people ahead of me for surgery, so this temporary clinic is very useful for me to deal with this waiting process and have other ailments checked out such as, for example, my heart.”

Elsa Miranda, another of the women who benefited from this initiative, explained: “I think this is fantastic. Good doctors and healthcare. I needed to be seen by an orthopedist and a general practitioner and it has been very important for me; I even had X-rays taken.”

For Patricio Fuentes, an orthopedist and president of the Traesol Foundation, the project was successful from the point of view of care provided. “Considering the critical situation of waiting lists, exacerbated after the pandemic and in places as isolated as San Pedro de Atacama, we have tried to help the community through multiple specialties. These initiatives, complemented by other public and private initiatives, are very important and positive.”

For Wilfredo Montoya, Director of Municipal Health in the district, SQM’s support for this operation is very significant: “It is very important to have the support of SQM, which made this initiative possible. There are many patients who, without this chance, would have waited months or even years to be treated in the hospital, and today they were able to accelerate this process. A contribution not only to San Pedro de Atacama, but to the whole district.”

The initiative was carried out thanks to AMA, an initiative to strengthen the role of Lickanantay women in different areas. It is led by an Advisory Committee composed of Atacameña women from the Atacama La Grande territory and representatives of SQM Salar. Among other objectives, it supports the integral health of the inhabitants of this area.

For Robert Ayavire of SQM, who is in charge of the program, “this project is focused and centered not only on the healthcare of the Atacameña women in the area but also on their families. To help implement the strategic guidelines, the members of the Advisory Committee have formed four working groups to implement specific projects. This temporary clinic are part of the area of health and healthy living.”

The AMA program is part of SQM’s Sustainability Plan and its Shared Value program, which is linked to various environmental goals and commitments and initiatives co-created with the surrounding communities to contribute to their comprehensive and sustainable development.

The temporary clinic also included eyeglass donations to ophthalmology patients, 115 radiological examinations and 33 speech therapy sessions; a new temporary clinic is planned for January in the area.