A quick glance over Chile’s basic health indicators makes one thing clear. With infant and maternal mortality levels amongst the lowest in Latin America, and the average life expecting coming in at close to 76 years, a figure that is up from just over 60 years in the early 1970s, it is plain to see that much of the country’s population is benefiting from what is an advanced health care system.
It was eight years ago that ACHS, Chile’s most comprehensive private network of occupational health and injury prevention centres, further contributed to the evolution of the country’s health care system by establishing the ESACHS. “Our main line of business,” states ESACHS General Manager, Javier Fuenzalida, “is to manage health centres, polyclinics and First Aid rooms within the business premises of various sectors of the economy.”
As well as operating primary care facilities that deal with complex workplace injuries and occupational health issues, ACHS provides comprehensive occupational risk prevention and training courses, and up-to-date information on workplace and in-transit accident prevention. Using innovative management systems, in line with the needs of an evolving workforce, ACHS routinely conducts new risk research in order to implement specific programmes for individual industry sectors. It also strives to promote healthy habits and behaviour in order to improve the quality of life of its affiliates, most notably through a range of special programs and education campaigns. ACHS’ operations are based on a culture of quality, in which on-going staff training, state-of-the-art technology, and definition of processes and standards figure highly.
Since its creation ESACHS has developed a reputation for delivering high quality service that conforms to the provisions and regulations imposed by the Chilean Health Authority. In order to deliver rescue and patient transfer services throughout the country, the company operates a fleet of more than 300 vehicles, including emergency ambulances, mini buses, trucks and cars.
In order to meet the needs and interests of companies across all manner of industry sectors ESACHS has developed specific health units. These include First Aid and Nursing Rooms in which trained professionals can deliver emergency care, Procedure Rooms and Polyclinics. These Polyclinics are kitted out with all the necessary equipment and facilities to deliver complete care, and come with additional sampling and x-ray rooms. It is at this level that the company shares a hugely important link with the major national and international mining companies operating in various sectors throughout Chile.
From an administrative standpoint the company specialises in providing all manner of services to health centres, ranging from the implementation of First Aid rooms to complex health units, with its work recognised by a number of vital industries such as the country’s mining sector.
Today ESACHS employs approximately 1,500 employees, while its coverage across Chile spans from the Tarapacá region to the Los Lagos region encompassing a total of 21 agencies found in the most important cities within each region. “In the years since ESACHS first came into being,” Fuenzalida continues, “we have accumulated a significant level of specialized knowledge within our field of work, much of which is based on the more than five decades worth of experience in the health sector possessed by our parent company.”
With the evolution of mining in Chile in recent times making it an ever more critical component of the country’s economic growth it comes as little surprise to find that ESACHS has made every effort to accompany this growth, in the process delivering its polyclinic and First Aid room management services to some of the most important companies in the sector. Such companies include BHP, CODELCO, the Doña Inés de Collahuasi Mining Company, Lumina Copper, Goldcorp, KGHM International, Antofagasta Minerals, Xstrata Copper, CAP Mining, Yamana Gold and ESO ALMA.
As part of the company’s drive to become even further integrated into Chile’s mining sector it will be attending the EXPONOR 2013 exhibition, which will take place between 17 and 21 June in Antofagasta. Organised by the Antofagasta Industrial Association, the event will bring together more than 1,000 exhibitors from around 30 countries.
“This year marks the very first time that ESACHS has attended EXPONOR,” Fuenzalida says. “Being a participant at this year’s event is a great honour for all of us here and we are very excited to have the opportunity to interact face-to-face with not only many of our current customers, but hopefully some future clients as well.”
In addition to working with the above mining companies ESACHS also provides its services to a number of other important sectors and areas of economic activity, such as the education and banking sectors, the forestry and fishing communities and the metalworking, communications and consumer products industries. Furthermore, the company has a strong track record of providing services to Chile’s prisons and its collection of observatories.
“The greatest asset we have as a business,” Fuenzalida explains, “is our dedicated staff, all of whom are fully qualified to deliver pre-hospital care. Simply put, the reasons behind the quality and efficiency of our services can all be traced back to the work of our employees and it is for this reason that we continue to invest heavily in our people.”
Obviously the services ESACHS provides are very staff intensive in their nature and it is because of this that it also works hard to contract out its external activities, such as transportation, accommodation and deliveries of food and supplies, to its premises to other local businesses. In doing so the company is also doing its bit for the wider Chilean economy by helped to generate further employment opportunities that local and region businesses can capitalise on.
As it continues to grow as a company ESACHS is constantly in the process of reviewing and expanding the range of services it provides, while always ensuring that at the end of the day its customers have the peace of mind of knowing that they can rely on the company to deliver quality health care.
“Our operational excellence is arguably best demonstrated by our ever-present willingness to develop and improve ourselves,” Fuenzalida highlights. “To this end we are constantly looking to incorporate the latest technology and technological advances into every facet of our operations, from the emergency vehicles we use to the way in which we equip health centres.”
The evidence that this philosophy of self-improvement is paying off can be seen in the fact that ESACHS’ customer base has increased steadily over the last eight years, and continues to do so now. “Literally every month we are being invited by companies from different economic sectors to participate in proposals related to the management of various health centres,” Fuenzalida concludes. “It is with great pride and satisfaction that we can stand here today and say that we are proving beyond doubt that we are the leaders when it comes to the delivery of such vital services.”
Written by Will Daynes, research by Louisa Adcock