Arimae

Overview

Arimae is a community in the Panama province, located right off of the Panamerican highway. It is about a 4 hour drive from the Panama City airport. A typical home in Arimae is made of wood and palm thatch. Arimae is an indigenous community, but what makes it unique is that the community is split evenly between two different indigenous groups: the Embera and the Wounaan.  The two different indigenous groups descend from common ancestors; they both live and dress similarly, but each has its own language. The most common forms of livelihood among the men in this community are agriculture and artisan crafts. The women usually take care of the home and also make and sell traditional crafts.  The main crops produced in Arimae are corn, plantains, and other fruits. Community members have access to credit through an established and thriving community bank which will support continued investment in local businesses and home improvement projects for families within the community. The top needs expressed by the community when Global Brigades began their partnership in Arimae were: legal protection of the land and improved access to health care.

Corregimiento: Santa Fe
District: Chepigana

Homes : 108
Population : 552
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : Nearby in Santa Fe
Community Health Workers : Yes
Homes with Latrines : 38%
Education in the Community : Up to 6th grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 1 hour

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

ARIMAE’S HEALTHCARE ACCESS:

Even though Panama is a country with a lot of economic growth, this growth does not apply equally to all Panamanians, especially those in rural areas. This results in stark inequality when it comes to healthcare access. The Panamanian Ministry of Health (MINSA) provides two different types of health facilities throughout rural Panama: Centros de Salud and Puestos de Salud. Centros are the larger of the two, often found in municipalities, and typically have at least one physician on staff at all times with nurses and potentially a dentist. Puestos are found sporadically in rural communities and generally have a single nurse available. 

Even with this coverage, the Centros frequently lack a full pharmacy and the staff capacity to see every patient each day. After walking long distances or paying for a bus, rural visitors to the Centros can expect long wait times given the limited staff and resources to meet the demand from all neighboring communities. The physician density in Panama remains around 630 people for every one doctor. According to the World Health Organization, there should be a maximum of 435 people per physician to qualify a country as having adequate access to medical attention.

Arimae has access to a health center in the nearby town of Santa Fe. During their initial communications with Global Brigades, community members expressed that the top three illnesses in Arimae were diarrhea, skin infections, vomiting, and colds.

437

Volunteers

3,590

Patient Consultations

144

Vision Screenings

38

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS:

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2019

Arimae has 1 Community Health Worker that was trained by Global Brigades. Community Health Workers, or Agentes Comunitarios en Salud (ACeS), work on a volunteer basis as advocates for healthcare within their communities. Their primary responsibilities include: educating community members to prevent common illnesses, providing emergency first aid, supporting pregnant mothers and newborns, and following up with chronic patients. The presence of these volunteers and their advocacy for health within their community contributes to the sustainability of healthcare supported by Global Brigades’ Medical Program and is one of the most impactful disease prevention strategies in rural communities.

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Arimae‘s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 4 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 367

 

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN ARIMAE:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Pennsylvania State University Medical Brigade March 2012 65 University of Washington Medical Brigade August 2012 30
Georgetown University Medical Brigade March 2013 45 Ohio State University Medical Brigade August 2013 30
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medical Brigade January 2014 21 California State University Bakersfield Medical Brigade June 2014 34
University of Michigan Dearborn Medical Brigade April 2015 21 University of Virginia & University of North Carolina Charlotte Medical Brigade March 2016 41
Indiana University-Purdue Medical Brigade August 2016 24 Stetson University Medical Brigade March 2017 24
Rutgers University Medical Brigade March 2019 30 Florida State University & University of Florida Medical Brigade August 2019 37
Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Brigade January 2020 20

 

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS

In working closely with the medical program, the dental program provides fillings, extractions, and fluoride treatments as a standard part of medical brigades. Most community members do not have regular access to dental care due to the lack of dental services within a reasonable distance in part due to the cost of procedures.

910

Dental Patient Consultations

572

Fluoride Treatments

378

Extractions

41

Fillings Performed

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Arimae‘s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 4 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 367

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN ARIMAE:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Pennsylvania State University Medical Brigade March 2012 65 University of Washington Medical Brigade August 2012 30
Georgetown University Medical Brigade March 2013 45 Ohio State University Medical Brigade August 2013 30
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medical Brigade January 2014 21 California State University Bakersfield Medical Brigade June 2014 34
University of Michigan Dearborn Medical Brigade April 2015 21 University of Virginia & University of North Carolina Charlotte Medical Brigade March 2016 41
Indiana University-Purdue Medical Brigade August 2016 24 Stetson University Medical Brigade March 2017 24
Rutgers University Medical Brigade March 2019 30 Florida State University & University of Florida Medical Brigade August 2019 37
Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Brigade January 2020 20

 

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

ARIMAE’S WATER CHALLENGE

Arimae shares a gravity water system with the neighboring community of Pueblo Nuevo. The source of the water is a stream located 2 hours walk up from the community. The system was constructed in 1980, so many of the pipes are starting to deteriorate. Over time, sections of the conduction line coming from the source have become exposed and, as people and animals walk over the pipes, they have broken and produce leaks.

Also, as the population of the community grew, the system was not large enough to provide consistent water to all the households. The water must be “sectorized,” which means the water committee diverts the water to certain sectors of community on different days of the week. On each sector’s day, families fill barrels or buckets with water which they store and use until the next day that water arrives. Finally, there are no water meters installed, so every household pays the same monthly water tariff regardless of the amount of water they used. This possibly leads to overuse, causing additional strain on the small system.

N/A

Volunteers

N/A

Project Beneficiaries

N/A

Kilometers of Pipeline Installed

N/A

Storage Tank Volume (gallons)

ARIMAE’S WATER SOLUTION

Brigaders expand the water distribution network in Pueblo Nuevo, Arimae’s neighboring community, 2016

In February 2020, a partnership between Global Brigades began working with the community of Arimae to repair their water system. 

It was determined that the best fit for Arimae would be: to elevate the existing water tank, replace the conduction line and distribution network with new, larger tubes, install an in-line chlorinator, and install household connections with water meters.  Upon completion, the repaired system will benefit 120 households, consisting of approximately 550 individuals.

In the interest of sustainability, after the project is complete, the members of the Water Council will be trained on water treatment and system maintenance, administration, and operation, so they can continue adequately managing the water system.  Arimae will also establish a monthly water fee determined by usage in order to pay the Water Council for water treatment, maintenance costs, and system sustainability.

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

ARIMAE’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Given the rural location of Arimae, community members typically lack access to financial resources locally. The majority of community members do not have bank accounts and there is only limited informal forms of credit available.  For example, a person could obtain ‘credit’ at a local store by buying something now and paying later, simply adding it to their ‘tab,’ but there would be no formalized credit transaction.  Larger financial institutions do not approve loans to community members without a fixed income, making it difficult for local microenterprises to grow and thrive. Most community members cite the distance to the nearest bank as the main discouragement to having a personal savings account. In order to gain access, members must travel to Santa Fe, a 30-minute bus ride, and some community members even have an account in the National Bank in Metetí, which is over 45 minutes away. Even if individuals wish to travel the distance, not all community members can become members of these financial institutions. As examples, cooperatives require monthly membership fees, savings accounts often require a fixed income, and the cost of travel and the lack of land titles as an indigenous community provide additional barriers.

180

Volunteers

185

Loans Disbursed

$8,110

Capital Invested

30

Saving Accounts Opened

ARIMAE’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

Members of the Arimae community bank

The Business Program works to stimulate the local economy by organizing community volunteers around a community bank, or caja rural, which is entirely owned and operated by its members. The Business Program provides training and support to help strengthen these community banks. In order to pool their limited funds together, increase the capital available to the community bank, and expand the impact of its financial services, each member contributes a capitalization fee for which they receive a proportional amount of the bank’s dividends at the end of its fiscal year. Upon the completion of six months of executive board training, the community bank begins giving out loans to bank members to spur economic growth and home improvement projects.

Arimae’s community bank was established in 2014 with the support of Global Brigades.  

ARIMAE’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

A small business owner in Arimae

Building off of a strong relationship developed in partnership with Global Brigades as a Holistic Community, Arimae looks to receive financial training and business consulting to expand and improve its local microenterprises.

As members of the Community Bank, Arimae’s micro-enterprises, led almost entirely by women or families, contribute to savings accounts and budget for loans to expand their businesses in the future. Through the help of Business Brigades, clients get advice on their most concerning business challenges and can also receive assistance in developing sustainable agriculture practices since many local businesses are based in cultivating produce and raising animals.

BUSINESS VOLUNTEERS IN ARIMAE:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Business Brigade March 2014 28 University of Puget Sound Business Brigade May 2014 16
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Business Brigades January 2015 30 Oakland University Business Brigade May 2015 22
Penn State University / University of Bayreuth Medical Brigade July 2015 24  University of Southern California  January 2016  22
University of Maryland Baltimore County Microfinance Brigade March 2016 16 London School of Economics Business Brigade June 2017 13
University of Southern California Business Brigade March 2019 9

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Arimae but has not yet begun with the Public Health Program. Now in the planning phase, the financing, delivery, and installation of household health infrastructure products will start as soon as feasible.

 

Homes with Latrines : 38%
Homes with Eco-Stoves : 0
Homes with Water Filters : 0
Common House Materials : Wood & Straw

Local Reference Points

View the map to see the closest volunteer lodging facilities, hospitals, and other relevant points of reference.

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