Friday, February 10, 2012

Carina Vance Mafla

Carina Vance Mafla (1979—) is Ecuador's Minister for Public Health. Mafla was born in Oakland, California. She went to high school in Ecuador and attended university in the United States. After earning a master's degree in public health from the University of California at Berkeley, she returned to Ecuador in 2004.

Mafla was appointed to the Cabinet by President Rafael Correa in January 2012, after her predecessor David Chiriboga resigned amid concerns that he was unable to fix the problems in Ecuador's national healthcare system. Mafla announced her intent to shut down a system of religious "clinics" which said they could "cure" gays and particularly lesbians of their homosexuality and which had been reported to torture inmates physically and psychologically and to hold them against their will. Fundacion Causana had been working to close these sorts of institutions for ten years. When a network of almost 200 such illegal "clinics" was discovered four years earlier, Mafla's organization and other LGBT rights and progressive organizations pressured Correa's government to shut them down. This led to the closure of thirty such clinics in September 2011 and a plan, presented by Chiriboga before his resignation, to continue the work. Soon after Mafla was appointed to the Cabinet, the ministry raided three of the "torture clinics" near Quito and rescued dozens of women. She also discussed plans to reform the administration of the country's hospitals.

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