"A Tiny Cry for Help" {Magazine, Dec. 20} is a grim portrayal of what is, indeed, a very grim situation. Unfortunately, however, the article sensationalizes the shocking conditions at Viedma Hospital by not mentioning efforts by many "Cochabambinos" to improve the situation.

The Fundacion Pro-Hospital Viedma (The Pro-Hospital Viedma Foundation, composed of volunteers from Cochabamba) and the North Carolina-Cochabamba, Bolivia Partners of the Americas (a volunteer organization with members in North Carolina and Cochabamba) are dedicated to improving the care at Viedma and to the upcoming construction of a new hospital. The coordinator of the foundation, Sister Ann Braudis, recently spent over two months at a hospital management seminar in North Carolina. She also received commitments from several medical institutions, such as North Carolina Memorial Hospital, that will support the efforts of the foundation through staff visits, training, and other resources, including the improvement of the burn clinic vividly described in the article.

The foundation recently succeeded in getting pledges for $25 million from the Bolivian government and the Inter-American Development Bank for the construction of this new hospital, which will be managed by a council of directors, instead of the government. The council will include representatives from the university in Cochabamba, the foundation, and other local public and private groups.

It is important for people to be aware of the sometimes atrocious health conditions in Bolivia. However, they must also realize that many Bolivian health professionals, most of whom earn far less than $40 a month, dedicate even their free time to improving the health care of those who cannot afford to pay for the private services.


Partners of the Americas