The Tekove Katu ("Full Life" in the Guarani language) School of Health was established 40 years ago in the Bolivian Chaco region with tenacious, pioneering work to benefit indigenous populations. Its mission focuses on addressing the health needs of its communities by training indigenous youth in the region, implementing health services coherent with their culture, and promoting scientific research.
The school was created in 1982 in the municipality of Gutiérrez, department of Santa Cruz, by Father Tarciso Ciabatti, with the help of a group of Italian and Bolivian volunteers. The school is covered by the Health Agreement between the Apostolic Vicariate of Camiri and the Ministry of Health of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, and works to enhance health services in the Bolivian Chaco through continuous coordination with indigenous social organizations and authorities of the national health system.
The school initially trained young nurses to ensure that vaccines reached the most remote communities in the Chaco region. Its mission has also led to important innovations in the training of indigenous health workers, combining the strictest scientific health regime with traditional medicine and a close relationship with the Guarani indigenous community.
Collaboration between Tekove Katu and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) focuses on technical cooperation to train and educate indigenous professionals working in the areas of nursing, environmental health, and nutrition, as well as the implementation of projects to improve access to quality water in indigenous communities.