Modernization of Public Aid Emergency Hospital (Posta Central) and the commitment for a better Public Health

30 de November de 2016

Modern facilities and the commitment of improving Public Health, bringing a greater chileans percentage closer to it. That was one of the objectives that brought the transfer of Posta Central during the government of Eduardo Frei Montalva to its new building located in the corner of the intersection of Portugal and Diagonal Paraguay streets, place in which remains to this day.

Located at the beginning, in 1911, in an old grand house in N°85 San Francisco street at the heart of Santiago, December 15th, 1967, Public Aid Emergency Hospital (Hospital de Urgencia de Asistencia Pública, HUAP in spanish), better known as Posta Central, changed its address to a building located in n°125 Portugal street. Nowadays, the address is the same. This building moving happened during Eduardo Frei Montalva’s government as part of a state initiative guided to improve hospital care in Public Health matter for most vulnerable people, expanding, incidentally, medical coverage to more patients.


Founded on August 7th, 1911, by Dr. Alejandro Del Río , Posta Central emerged under the formation of a Public Aid facility at the beggining of XXth century, in view of the need of having a more efficient administration in Health Area in a context of cultural modernization. This was because until that date, those responsible of transporting and assisting the wounded were police cars wgich did not have any medical experience nor medical studies. As time went by, medicine students were hired and could assist the injured immediately within police stations, which gave it public assistance nature.

In the context of the foundation of Public Assistance, Dr. Alejandro Del Río claimed that the institution reinforced the medical role to a highest profesional level, and also academic level in hygene area and public healthiness . In the light of this, Chilea State contributed to the improvement of hospital development, making it more efficient in its quality of service, and focusing it in a single administration dedicated to the injured and sick, which previously did not happened.

However, over time and the population growth, hospital infrastructure became, increasingly, insufficient. This, together with health care establishments and hospitals unfinished (for example, Hopital Arriarán) caused make infusion of resources to broaden and finish those places as to strenghten its quality of care, and expand the coverage. That is why in 1953, the then Health Minister, Salvador Allende, introduced the modification of the draft bill 16,781, where there were invested resources for the completion of delayed hospital projects, start point for the moving of Posta Centrak to its new building in n° 125 Portugal street, with a cost estimated at 26 million 256 thousand escudos (chilean currency of that time).

Along with the building of the new location, change was sought for the administration from Public Aid to the carácter of Public Aid- Hospital or Emergency Units. This situation involved the need of representing it as an educational institution for the starting of new generations in a practical way .

The opening of the new Posta Central facility was made on December 15th, 1967, in a ceremony that gathered ithe institution authorities along its workers. Heading the activity was the President of the Republic, Eduardo Frei Montalva, together with the First Lady, María Ruiz- Tagle, Health Minister, Ramón Valdivieso with his wife, Senator Salvador Allende and his wife, among other authorities, besides the delagations of Armed Forces and Carabineros (chilean Police), Medical college and clerical workers of the Hospital. All of them gathered to remember the mission of physicians and workers that belonged since the beginning to the institution.

According to the ceremony, it was also commemorated the previous architecs and workers who contributed to the construction of the modern building, equipped to deal with the corresponding needs of this crusade in the seek of humanizing social function of health. Once the ceremony was finished, a tour by the three floor hospital began, and then finished with a cocktail.

The opening of Posta Central in its new building, where it is nowadays, represented a symbol of the need of the Government of Eduardo Frei Montalva to reinforce the relationship of society and public health through administrative and technical modernization, that besides allowing its workers improve the quality of care, strengthen humanitarian perspective of the physician, as social agent responsible of assisting people, also educate and update new generations of doctors, according to the medical tendences emerging that period, with an enhancement that allowed cope with the times.


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