Bayán Association began its operations in the area of health services when two families led the construction and inauguration of a small hospital (a center for primary health care) in Palacios, La Mosquitia in 1986. These two families, the Smiths and the Sabripours, sought to effect social and economic development based on the spiritual principles of the Bahá’í Faith.

The hospital is located in Palacios, a small town located in the Caribbean, on the fringes of the region surrounding "Río Plátano" ("Plantain River") and at the crossroads of the Miskito and Garifuna populations.

Initially there were no doctors in the village except for two in the Sabripour and Smith families. These two families consulted with the communities and decided to open a small hospital. This became the beginning of a series of programs for social and economic development lead by the Bayán Association.

The hospital and its beautiful infrastructure was constructed initially with the funds and skills of its founders and later on with the support of the international community.

The hospital attends a population of approximately seven to ten thousand people, mostly Garifunas and Miskitos of limited economic means.

Development and Maturation

As a result of the desire to increase community participation and keeping in mind the issue of sustainability, the running of the hospital was delegated to an Administrative Committee in 1998. Its members include the Secretary for Public Health, the Municipality of Brus Laguna, the Municipality of Juan Francisco Bulnes, and the Bayán Association. This new arrangement increased community participation and strengthened the local inhabitant’s understanding of a participatory approach.

In 2001 a British ambassador visited the hospital and supported its endeavours with a monetary donation. Donations of surgical equipment and medicines received from the Development Cooperation of Ireland helped strengthen the quality of the hospital's setup.

During 2002, the Cuban government continued to support the hospital by sending medical specialists and nurses, maintaining an average of 4 to 5 professionals serving the hospital at a given point.

In March of 2002, Bayán Association provided the hospital with 10 solar panels to help particularly during times of a power-related emergencies. The municipality supported the endeavor by purchasing the equipment necessary to install the panels.

The Secretary of Health has risen the health rank of the Municipality of Juan Francisco Bulnes to that of a "Healthy Municipality." The Secretariat has also begun receiving greater human and financial resources and has therefore been able to install many more Centers of Primary Care ("Cesamos") with all the necessary doctors, medicines, and infrastructure for their operation. The hospital has therefore seen a shift in the kinds of cases it deals with to ones more complex in nature.

Doctors working on a patient in Hospital Bayán.

Doctors working on a patient in Hospital Bayán.