Ecuador’s Medical Community
By Henry Noel
Ecuador is the recipient of increased visibility due to the influx of visitors and immigrants to this small South American country of just under 17 million people. Immigrants from all over the globe are seeking the slower pace and reduced cost of living as a refuge from the ever-increasing cost of living in North America, Europe, and Asia.
The most affected area for Ecuador has been its medical system comprising both private and social medical facilities. In the past ten years, annual funding for public health care has more than doubled from previous levels. Ecuador has made great strides improving its medical standing with the World Health Organization (WHO). Various surveys verify Ecuador has moved from the middle of the pack of Latin American countries in health care quality, climbing into the top five. A Bloomberg survey in 2014 listed Ecuador 20th in the world of overall health care efficiency, factoring in both cost and quality. The U.S., by comparison, ranked 46th. However, the increasing influx of immigrants can be taxing on this small country’s medical system.
According to the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ), Ecuador is fast becoming a top medical tourism destination. Foreigners seeking medical treatments, whether simple treatments like dental and auditory care, or major procedures like knee and hip replacement, open-heart surgery, and the ever-popular cosmetic surgery, Ecuador’s lower costs and growing bank of internationally trained medical professionals are placing Ecuador in the spotlight for medical tourism.
Like many countries, Ecuador’s larger cities (Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca) have the most modern facilities and a plethora of internationally trained specialists providing state-of-the-art medical treatments. Recent policy changes and dedicated funding from the Ecuadorian government has increased the quality of medical care throughout the country, especially its Social Security system, or IESS, which has received the largest infusion of government funding over the past ten years. A notable benefit of the IESS program is of particular importance to immigrants, who, in case of an emergency, can receive service at any emergency room in the country, including private ones, with IESS picking up the tab.
However, in Ecuador’s smaller cities, the oriente, and coastal areas, medical services can be a bit behind the international curve and could use much more support. Despite these short-comings, Ecuador has demonstrated its support to the medical community by increasing resources and encouraging talented medical professionals to improve services in these needed areas.
The future of Ecuador’s health care system is bright. Costs for services run from 10% to 30% of those in the United States. The Bloomberg health study, cited earlier, reports that Ecuador gets excellent results for its health care spending: $332 per capita for health care compared to $8,608 for the United States, making Ecuador a bargain when it comes to the cost of medical treatments.
Ecuador’s medical system, its medical professionals, the availability of services, and reduced costs, permits Ecuador the privilege to stand proud. Ecuador is a small country creating a large presence in our world’s medical community.
In this issue, Cuenca Expats Magazine is proud to present some of Cuenca’s best medical professionals.
Dr. Pablo Salamea M.
Cosmetic, Reconstructive and Plastic Surgeon
Academic Training - Awards - Positions Held
- Member of: ASPS, American Society of Plastic Surgeons. FILACP, Ibero-Latin American Federation of Plastic Surgery. SECPRE. ISAPS.
- Director, Rostros Felices Cuenca Foundation
- Director, Helping Kids in Ecuador (HKIE) Foundation
- Resurge US Foundation Volunteer Surgeon
- Associate Profesor, Faculty of Medicine, Univ. de Cuenca
- Member of the Plastic Surgery Staff, Hosp. Vicente Corral M.
- Plastic Surgeon Staff, Hospital Universitario del Río
- Sub-Director of Specialty Surgical Clinic, Hospital Vicente Corral Moscoso
Eyelid surgery · Rhinoplasty · Otoplasty · Chin Surgery · Facial Rejuvenation Surgery · Breast Lifting, Increase & Reduction · Liposculpture & Abdominoplasty · Buttocks & Calf Augmentation · Body Contouring Surgery · Reconstructive surgery (microsurgery and facial paralysis) · Minimally Invasive Procedures (Botox & Facial Fat Transfer)
- UCSG Plastic Surgeon, Aesthetic and Reconstructive, Universidad Estatal Paulista, Sao Paulo, Brasil
- Microsurgery and Facial Paralysis, Fellow Instituto Ivo Pitangus, Río de Janeiro, Brasil
Dra. Saine Touma C.
Cosmiatry and Aesthetic Medicine
Facial rejuvenation, depigmentation, and fillers - Botulinum toxin (BOTOX) - Reduction of measures - Body depigmentation - Phleboestetics - Aparatology - Skin flaccidity - Cellulitis - Acne sequel - Wrinkles - Fibrosis - Adhesions - Localized fat - Lymphatic drainage - Pre and post Operatory
- General Medicine, School of Medicine, Universidad de Guayaquil
- Aesthetic Medicine, University of Buenos Aires
- Master's Degree in Health, Universidad de Loja
- Aesthetics, Universidad Católica de Cuenca
Hospital Universitario del Río, 2nd Floor, #237
Phone: 459553 ext. 2243 or 093.920.5546
MD. Rafael Salamea M.
Anesthesiology and Resuscitation
- Department Head, Anesthesia Department, Hospital Universitario del Río
- Professor of Neuroanesthesia, Post-graduate degree program, Anesthesiology, Universidad de Cuenca
• Pediatric Anesthesiology, gyneco-obstetric, general and neuroanesthesia
• Pain management
- General Medicine, Universidad del Azuay
- Anaesthesiology and Resuscitation, Universidad Católica Santiago de Guayaquil
- Neuroanesthesia Course, Manuel Velasco Suarez Institute, Mexico City
- Currently studying subspecialty in pain medicine and palliative care, Pain Foundation Buenos Aires, Universidad de Buenos Aires
Hospital Universitario del Río, 4th floor, #412
Phone: 459553 ext. 2402 or 098.432.7653
Juan Carlos Salamea M. MD, FACS
General and Laparoscopic Surgery - Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
- Staff Surgeon, Hospital Universitario del Río
- Coordinator Trauma and Emergency Center, Hospital Vicente Corral Moscoso
- Associate Professor Universidad del Azuay
General Surgery · Laparoscopic Surgery · Emergency and Trauma Surgery · Abdominal and Hernia Repair · Surgical Critical Care
- Trauma and Emergency Surgery, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia.
- General Surgery Specialty, Universidad de Cuenca.
- International Instructor, Definitive Surgical Trauma Care Course, International Association for Trauma Surgery and Intensive Care.
- International Instructor, Emergency Abdominal Surgery Course, World Society Emergency Surgery.
- Fellow American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Silvia Carrión Sánchez
Gastroenterology (Adults), Endoscopy and Colonoscopy Specialist
- Medical Associate, Gastroenterology Department, Hospital Universitario del Río
• Digestive diseases
• Upper and lower endoscopy (diagnosis and therapeutic)
• Digestive screening cancer
• Liver disease management
- Medical Associate, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires
- Medical Specialist Degree in Gastroenterology, University of Buenos Aires (UBA) - Argentine Society of Gastroenterology (SAGE)
- Gastroenterology Residency, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires
- Medical Clinician, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires
- School of Medical Sciences - Universidad de Cuenca
Dr. Luis Flores S.
Digestive surgery, laparoscopy, and transplants
- Staff Surgeon, Hospital Universitario del Rio
- General Transplant Coordinator, Hospital José Carrasco Arteaga
• General Surgery
• Advanced laparoscopic surgery
• Digestive and hepato-bilio-pancreatic surgery
• Liver transplant
• Bariatric surgery
- Medicine and Surgery, School of Medical Sciences, Universidad de Cuenca
- General Surgery Specialist, Universidad de Cuenca
- General Surgery and Gastroenterology Specialist, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona. Ministry of Health. Spain.
- Master of Clinical Research with a Specialty in Donation and Transplant of Organs, Tissues and Cells, University of Barcelona
Dr. Mónica Vásquez P.
Gastroenterology, diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy, hepatology and liver transplant
• Hepatic diseases in acute and chronic stages – Cirrhosis
• Viral Illnesses: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C
• Autoimmune Diseases: Autoimmune Hepatitis, Cholangitis
• Acute Alcoholic Hepatitis and Cirrhosis
• Diagnosis and monitoring of liver injuries
• Fatty liver
• Management and follow-up of patients on the transplant and post-transplant list
• Digestive diseases
• Upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy
- School of Medical Sciences, Universidad de Cuenca
- Hepatology and Liver Transplantation Fellowship, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires
- Hepatology and Liver Transplantation Specialty, Argentine Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AAEEH), (CABA)
- Diagnostic and Therapeutic Endoscopy Video Specialization, Institute of Diagnostics and Treatment (IADT), (CABA)
- Gastroenterology Specialty, Universidad del Salvador
- Master’s in Research, Hepatic Diseases and Liver Transplants, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona
Dr. Marco Palacios Q.
- Attending Physician, Internal Medicine Department, Hospital Universitario del Río
- Professor, School of Medicine, Universidad del Azuay
• Chronic and acute patient care
• Preventive medicine
• Preoperative evaluation
- Medicine and Surgery, Universidad de Cuenca
- Internal Medicine Specialist, Universidad de Cuenca
Dr. Yadira Tapia P.
Specialist in (adult and children)
Skin, Hair and Nails Diseases • Acne and Sequelae • Scars Management • Skin Rejuvenation • Peeling • Melasma (Facial stains) • Moles • Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention • Alopecia (Hair loss) • Allergies • Vitiligo • Psoriasis • Atopic Dermatitis • Laser Treatments
- General Medicine, School of Medicine, Universidad de Cuenca
- Dermatology, Universidad de Guayaquil
- Mycology, Hospital General Dr. Manuel Gea González, México
Hospital Universitario del Río, 2nd floor, #232
Phone: 459553 ext. 2243 or 098.245.9021
Dr. Doménica Toledo G.
• Wrinkles • Scars • Baldness • Under-Eye Bags • Cellulitis • Anti-Aging • Measure Reduction • Plasma Rich in Growth Factors (PRP) • Micropigmentation (Eyeliner, Eyebrows, Lip Fill) • Facial fillers • Fibrosis • Hair Treatments
- General Medicine, Universidad Católica de Cuenca
- Master Degree in Aesthetic Medicine, Universitat de Les Illes Balears, Spain
Hospital Universitario del Río, 2nd floor, #232
Phone: 098.245.9021 or 459553 ext. 2243