CESAPU – Volunteer Center for Public Health


Centro de Salud Pública, or Volunteer Center for Public Health is Hands on Peru’s new project, inaugurated on December 2016. CESAPU focuses on prevention, promotion, and education of health in the poor community of Villa Los Angeles and is an opportunity for our volunteers to be able to promote sustainable growth and make an even larger impact in their time abroad. Focusing on community development and holistic, preventative health, CESAPU hopes to promote community development as well as disease prevention, holistic health and general wellbeing.




As well as offering regular rotations in health clinics and hospitals in Trujillo for our volunteers, we will have at least 2 medical campaigns per week in CESAPU that gives the volunteer plenty of one-on-one patient interaction and the opportunity to bond with the community. When we have large brigades of volunteers, we have more resources to be able to staff the medical campaigns and to provide the supplies, equipment and medicine necessary for these campaigns to run smoothly.


What will the volunteer do?

Volunteers who are in undergraduate programs:

Triage: The volunteer will be expected to be able to take height, weight, blood pressure, respiration rates, pulse, and clinical history.

Additional: The volunteer will also be trained to do the following: glucose meter tests for diabetes, and other non-invasive basic medical procedures.

Volunteers who are in graduate programs:

Triage: The volunteer will be expected to be able to take height, weight, blood pressure, respiration rates, pulse, and clinical history in basic triage every day.

Additional: The volunteer will also be trained to do the following: glucose meter tests for diabetes, auscultation exams, and potentially assist the nurses with administering vaccines. Students already in post-graduate programs will be encouraged to get more hands on experience with the patient under the supervision of a physician. They may be able to assist with pap smears and/or prostate exams. Physical therapy, chiropractic students and dental students will be able to get experience under their respected licensed doctors as well.


Our patients

We serve a marginalized, low-income population right outside of Huanchaco, Peru in a small 400-person community called “Villa Los Angeles”. We primarily serve this humble population, as well as the surrounding areas which is composed of thousands of more people. About 90% of the population is living in either poverty or extreme poverty.

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Patient registration

Registration for CESAPU campaigns is an easy process; requiring each person to sign a consent form, fill out a health survey, and pay a registration fee of 1 sol.  All patient data is recorded in our state-of-the-art, customized Electronic Medical Record System (EMRS). This EMRS will allow for comprehensive and continuous care for all of our patients despite the temporary volunteer visits and frequent staff changes in the clinic.


Health Campaigns: A brief look

All campaigns are staffed by international volunteers and attended by local Trujillo doctors. Each day has a different health theme focused on disease prevention. This was the schedule for the December 2016 / January 2017 campaigns. In this grand opening, we had over 150 people register for CESAPU and hosted 11 preventative health campaigns.

  • Mondays - Women’s campaign - Pap Smears
  • Tuesdays - Anemia campaign - Take blood samples to test hemoglobin levels
  • Wednesdays - Diabetes campaign - Test level of sugar in the blood.
  • Thursdays - Men’s campaign - We offer more testing for diabetes as well as prostate exams
  • Fridays - Mental Health Campaign - We practice breathing and relaxation exercises, identify violence in the community, and reinforce positive behaviors among children.



  • Ultrasound campaigns
  • Chiropractic care
  • Psychology care
  • Zumba sessions


While CESAPU focuses on preventative health, we also acknowledge the importance of offering curative care to those who have already developed a disease or illness. We have a small inventory of medicine that we either donate or sell for 1 sol to the patients. If we do not have the medicine, we direct our patients to the closest pharmacy where they can purchase it at low cost.



Every Monday and Wednesday from 9-12, CESAPU hosts family medical residents who are completing their required rotations in Universidad Nacional de Trujillo (UNT) in the CESAPU. The residents study under Dr. Jose Cabrejos, MD, MPH, who is one of the ‘padrinos’ of CESAPU. These medical residents are a great source of consistent health advice for the community and primary care to address basic health needs of the population. They have collected community health and demographic data so that CESAPU can accurately identify the community’s health needs problems and apply culturally appropriate solutions. The relationship between CESAPU and HOP will



We at Hands on Peru recognize the importance of female empowerment and the crucial role that the mother plays in the home, in their children’s development, and in community development.

Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, we meet with a group of mothers in the community and we cover a variety of topics that focus on women’s empowerment. This “Club de Madres” is a safe space for mothers to come to unite together to form community, to talk about their fears, to empower one another, to do physical activities like yoga, and to learn about important health advice, particularly in nutrition, pregnancy, and sexual health.

Many of the mothers want to start their own business, and learn skills like baking, cooking, and other “manualidades” like making artesian crafts, shoes, and other hard skills. Therefore, one of our goals for this women’s empowerment group is to promote economic development. As CESAPU grows, there will surely be more activity in the community and more opportunities to sell to both a local and an international population. If you are volunteering with Hands on Peru, please consider supporting these women’s local businesses.

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