Dr. Carina Vetye is the heart, driving force and coordinator of “Health Center Number 16” and the pharmacy she founded for the poorest in Villa Zagala, one of the countless slums of Buenos Aires. Carina manages the teams, teaches preventative care, provides training and steers the cooperation with the various agencies involved. Her main concern, however, remains the local population, who, thanks to Carina’s commitment, are given hope and a better quality of life.
Carina Vetye, a German-Argentinean, was born and grew up in Buenos Aires. She holds a degree in pharmacy in both countries and received her PhD from the University of Buenos Aires. After completing her education, she emigrated to her second homeland Germany, but later returned to Argentina.
Carina Vetye: “When the economic crisis hit in 2001 and Argentina requested help and medication, I said to myself: ‘This is my opportunity to give something back to my first homeland.’”
Giving back through the slum pharmacy
Since 2002, Carina has been involved in the international aid organization “Pharmacists Without Borders” in Argentina. In 2008 she went one step further: in Villa Zagala, one of the countless slums in Buenos Aires, she and the alliance founded a pharmacy together with the local “Health Center Number 16”, which supplies the poorest with urgently needed medication and an equally important educational program.
Today, Carina is the heart, driving force and coordinator of the health center. She manages the teams, steers the cooperation with doctors and the authorities and handles the ever-precarious financing. Thanks to her many years of commitment, a high level of solidarity and strong culture has developed among the staff, which is no longer linked to her alone. This results in a sustainable impact – although Carina still continues to put her heart and soul into her work.
“When you start doing this kind of work, begin to understand the situation and see the impact you can have, you want to do even more,” says Carina Vetye. “You commit yourself to the people. And they also make a commitment: to the health center, their medication and their treatment.”
Education as a key
For Carina, education is key. This is why she also teaches preventative care and trains local health personnel, as well as German pharmacists for assignments abroad. In addition, she is involved in international development cooperation, emergency aid and in consulting and collaborating with medical and pharmaceutical charities. In 2018, Carina received the “Else Kröner Fresenius Award for Development Cooperation in Medicine”, which is endowed with 100,000 euro. This prize recognizes projects that improve medical care in developing countries and that are characterized by an extraordinary and sustainable commitment to the sick and needy.