A project by the Latin-American Mission began in 1921. Several missionaries arrived in this country coming from different nations in order to help those who needed it the most. Mr. Henry Strachan, Scottish, and Susan, Irish, joined this noble cause after having served in Argentina during 17 years as evangelic missionaries.
When arriving to Costa Rica, they felt particularly moved and very worried about the deplorable state of the Costa Rican health system. Their main concern was infant health because they found that 355 out of 1000 children died per year and 50% of these surviving children died before reaching the age of five. Malnutrition and abandonment were the main problems suffered by children during that period; also, the only hospital that existed at that time and that could take care of only a part of the sick people was San Juan de Dios. Regarding health in general, they also found that life expectancy was around 40. There were illnesses such as tuberculosis and malaria.
Because of this depressing scene, the Strachans decided to bring relief to those who needed it the most: the poor, especially the children. This way they dedicated to give free medical services to these people; this is how they established Clinica Biblica Hospital, in charge of the Latin American Mission. The original idea was to create a pediatric center to attend so many ill, malnourished and abandoned children. However, as time went by, they saw need to count with a maternity ward and a surgical clinic. This is how the Strachans decided to assume this as their personal challenge and achieved the construction of a maternity ward, a surgical section and an infirmary school.
By 1968 important advances were by 1968 important advances were already made in the national health area. Infant mortality rate had decreased considerably, nurses with great professional excellency were being prepared, there were special high quality programs for maternity attention and post surgical treatment, and the country already counted with several good hospitals associated to the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social (Costa Rican Social Security System) such as Rafael Angel Calderón Guardia Hospital and Mexico Hospital.
In front of this new flattering context, the Latin American Mission decided that their objective had been fulfilled, reason why they had to leave to help others as needy as the Costa Ricans at the beginning. On the other hand, the Mission did not have any more financial resources to continue with their altruistic job. This implied that Hospital Clinica Biblica had to close down since it had been sustained, until then, solely by the Mission. The premises were ample, the medical staff was highly qualified and there was excellent technological equipment. However, they could not keep working without the economic help.
Facing this difficult situation, a group of evangelic businessmen, represented by Enrique Cabezas, decided to ask the Mission to allow them to constitute an association in order to administer the Hospital. The missionary David Howard, in representation of the Latin American Mission, accepted the proposal. The Asociación de Servicios Médicos Costarricenses - ASEMECO - Costa Rican Medical Services Association is constituted on July 14, 1929.
The ASEMECO associates decided to continue with the Hospital's original purpose and ratified their intention to serve those in most need. Having to support itself, ASEMECO decided to "sell" its services to those who could pay for them in order to keep looking after people with scarce resources with the earnings that this practice generated.
Today, Hospital Clinica Biblica´s Social Work programs make up the central part of the purposes contemplated by ASEMECO´s statutes. One third of HCB´s total earnings is destined to Social Action.
"To offer without discrimination medical attention that is excellent in quality and given with integrity to those requiring it the most and to commit its income to the funding of various social action (charity) programs in order that the most needy will have their health needs attended to".
"To be the best Christian private medical institution with social outreach services, and to be recognized nationally as a specialized center in the area of diagnosis as well as in the provision of medical and surgical treatments".