Healthcare and potable water for Bolivia

Help us provide healthcare and potable water to remote and unprivileged communities located in the Bolivian Amazon. Together we can improve the lives and prevent diseases of more than 60,000 people.

Our mission

The mission of the Rio Beni Health Foundation  is to promote health and well-being by providing health care, laboratory and dental services, as well as access to clean drinking water to unprivileged communities located in the Bolivian Amazon.

Who we are

The Rio Beni Health Foundation was initiated by Dr. Lou Netzer, a retired U.S. physician, in 1998. Initially managed as an informal project, it became a registered Bolivian non-profit organization in 2009. Since then, the Rio Beni Health Foundation has growth into a full-time health clinic based in Rurrenabaque, a North Bolivian town. The clinic is run by Joselo Balderrama and his team of doctors. The Rio Beni Health Foundation also provides mobile health care and bio-sand filters to the 50 surrounding communities.

Who we serve

The Rio Beni Health Foundation serves the communities along the basins of the rivers Beni and Quiquibey, which is composed of 7 municipalities (Runnenabaque, Reyes, San Borja, San Buenaventura, Ixiamas, Apolo and Palos Blancos), in the North of Bolivia.

Our needs

In raising money to supplement the 3 main activities of the Foundation, we aim to further address the needs of the remote populations of the Bolivian Amazon. With your donation we’ll be able to care for and prevent many diseases, saving many lives.

We need to raise USD 80,600 by December 31, 2019 to secure funding for our 2020 initiatives. Additional funding will go towards further medical supplies and equipment, and the expansion of our programs to more rural and remote areas. 

Thank you in advance for your support! We are deeply grateful for your time, interest and generosity.


Project 1: Expand access to free healthcare to remote villages

Our mobile health team delivers free basic medical services to remote communities in the Bolivian Amazonian forest that lack access to health care. These communities are located long distances away from any health clinic, some up to 14 hours by boat, and patients lack the money to travel to the clinic to receive adequate medical care. Our mobile health clinic is the only provider of healthcare and public health education to these communities.

Unfortunately, visiting these communities is expensive as we provide all the care and medicine for free. We also need a lot of combustible for those long trips. In addition, we currently have a boat but lack a car for trips that should be taken by road. In the past years, we were able to afford visiting 25 communities per year and only a couple of those twice. In 2020, we hope to visit all the 50 surrounding communities of the area twice a year, in order to provide them with regular healthcare and monitoring.

Financial needs

Fixed charges
- 1 car = $8,000
- Car maintenance = $600 for a year
- Boat maintenance = $600 for a year
Total = $9,200

-Quiquibey 5-day boat trip: $2400 ($1,200 per visit to 9 communities, twice a year)
-Rio Beni Torewaa 4-day boat trip: $1,600 ($800 per visit to 5 communities, twice a year)
-Rio Beni El Bala 2-day boat trip: $1,200 ($600 per visit to 5 communities, twice a year)
-Rio Beni Abajo 5-day boat trip: $2,600 ($1,300 per visit to 12 communities, twice a year)
-Tumupasa 2-day road trip: $900 ($450 per visit to 4 communities, twice a year)
-Ixiamas 2-day road trip: $1,100 ($550 per visit to 4 communities, twice a year)
-Yucumo 2-day road trip: $1,100 ($550 per visit to 4 communities, twice a year)
-Piedras Blancas 2-day road trip: $900 ($450 per visit to 4 communities, twice a year)
-Puerto Cercanos 2-day road trip: $900 ($450 per visit to 3 communities, twice a year)
Total =  $12,700

Total = $21,900


Project 2: Enhance our healthcare, laboratory and dental services in Rurrenabaque

Our health clinic in Rurrenabaque currently sees 4,000 patients per year, mostly coming from Rurrenabaque (35,000 inhabitants) and San Buenaventura (20,000 inhabitants). Our low-cost services are very valuable for the local community who cannot afford the higher prices at the hospital and other private clinics. Our low-priced services don’t allow us to cover for our expenses and therefore we need to rely on donations to pay our staff and other operating costs.

In addition, we currently keep all the medical records of our +10,000 patients on paper, which is very inefficient and not sustainable in the long-term. We aim to digitalize them and provide our doctors with computers so that they could add their diagnostic and treatments on the fly. This would significantly increase the efficiency of our operations and save our staff thousands of hours per year updating and ordering paper medical records.

Finally, some of our ultrasound and laboratory equipment is obsolete and we hope to update it in order to provide more accurate and complete analysis.

Financial needs

Operating costs
-Salaries (2 doctors and 1 director) = $21,000 ($1,750/month for a year)
-Rent = $3,000 ($250/month for a year)
-Utilities (water, gas, electricity, phone, internet) = $2,400 ($200/month for a year)
-Medical supplies = $2,400 ($200/month for a year)
-Office supplies = $1,200 ($100/month for a year)
-Maintenance and repairs = $1,800 ($150/month for a year)
-Marketing  = $600 ($50/month for a year)
-Taxes = $600 per year
Total = $33,000

Modernization of our equipment
-2 computers = $1,400
-1 ultrasound machine = $12,000
-1 ultrasound printer = $400
-1 Stat Fax analyzer = $3,000
-5 micropipettes  = $1,800
-1 electrocardiogram = $800
Total = $19,400

Total = $52,400


Project 3: Prevent diseases in remote villages by installing 100 bio-sand water filers

Our foundation constructs and sets up bio-sand water filers to surrounding communities that lack access to clean water. Without these filters, the water used daily by families to drink, cook, clean, and wash their clothes comes from rivers and other contaminated sources. This contaminated water then causes diseases which are difficult to treat due to the remoteness of the communities. Our bio-sand water filters reduce high-levels of infant and child mortality and provide families their only clean source of water. In the communities where we installed water filters, we are very happy to see that water-related diseases have decreased by 75%.

Unfortunately, delivering those filters is challenging. Each empty filter weighs 190 pounds. Then, each filter needs another 190 pounds of sand, course sand and gravel, inside. These remote communities don’t have roads or trails, so we need to walk in the middle of the jungle and carry the filters and sands. Over the past 10 years, students from the non-profit organization “Students Shoulder to Shoulder ” have helped us build, paint, transport and install water filters in the homes and schools of those isolated villages.

To date, the foundation has constructed 800 bio-sand water filters, providing 6,500 people with access to clean water. In 2020, we aim to bring 100 additional water filters in schools and homes of 7 communities located along the Rio Beni.

Financial needs

-Raw material = $3500 ($35 for each filter)
-Transportation = $2,800 ($200 per trip, 14 trips needed)

Total= $6,300


Other ways you can help

We understand that financial contributions are not always possible, but you can still contribute by helping spread the world. Tell your friends, family, colleagues, or anyone who has a passion to bring change. Share the link to this campaign on your social media. Every single donation counts, big or small.

If you have any questions about our projects or would like more information about our partnership and volunteering opportunities, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

You can also follow us on Facebook  to see updates about our progress.

Thank you very much for your generosity and support. It makes all the difference.

The Rio Beni Health Foundation team

Donations ()

  • Stewart&Jeanne Johnston 
    • $200 
    • 2 mos
  • Crister Brady 
    • $25 
    • 5 mos
  • Kayla Foster 
    • $20 
    • 5 mos
  • Charissa Zhu 
    • $20 
    • 5 mos
  • Michael Beerntsen 
    • $50 
    • 5 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Rio Beni Health Foundation (2)

Solène Oudet 
San Francisco, CA
José Balderrama 
Team member
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