Buena Vista

  • Overview
  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Engineering
  • Water
  • Business
  • Public Health

Overview

Buena Vista is a mountainous community with a population of 516 people in the municipality of Morocelí. Prior to Global Brigades’ arrival, people in Buena Vista suffered from a lack of clean water, hygiene and sanitation infrastructure, healthcare, and education. Few homes had concrete floors, properly functioning latrines, proper water storage, or efficient stoves with chimneys. Thus, respiratory infections, pneumonia, parasites and diarrhea were common. In Buena Vista, school is offered until 9th grade and approximately 95% of community members know how to read and write. After completing school, most children begin working in agricultural just like their parents. They grow coffee, corn, and beans. Their harvest is used to sustain their families, but they earn roughly 700 Lempiras (US $30) per month selling some of their crops.

Municipality: Morocelí
Department: El Paraíso

Homes : 130
Population : 516
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : No
Health Center : Yes
Community Health Workers : Yes
Education : Up to 9th Grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 1 hr 30 min
Homes with Latrines :

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

HEALTH CARE ACCESS

The Honduran government provides two different types of health centers throughout rural Honduras: Centros de Salud Médico Odontológico (CESAMOs) and Centros de Salud Rural (CESARs). CESAMOs 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. CESARs are found sporadically in rural communities and generally have a single nurse available. Even with this coverage, it is important to note that medications, supplies, and materials are often not available in these health centers and the physician density in Honduras remains around 1,220 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.

There is a CESAR located in Buena Vista. The nurse staffs the health center Monday through Friday from about 9am to 3pm and lives in Morocelí on the weekends. If Buena Vista’s inhabitants need to see a doctor or dentist, they must travel down the mountain to the nearest CESAMO in Morocelí. The trip can take up to 3 hours on foot. Although there is a bus that comes to the community, it does not come very often and many community members cannot afford its fee. Therefore, health care access is very limited.

236

Brigade Volunteers

4,997

Patient Consultations

494

Pap smears Performed

115

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

Buena Vista has access to a total of fifteen Community Health Workers (CHWs). These CHWs were all trained in the community of Buena Vista and provide their services to a total of six communities. Four of them live in Buena Vista.

Community Health Workers, or Guardianes de Salud, work on a volunteer basis as advocates for health care within their communities. While this is an existing program in Honduras and Guardianes de Salud are identified by other organizations and some health centers, Global Brigades is able to bridge gaps in access to training and provide more comprehensive technical skills. Our CHWs are some of the very few Guardianes de Salud to receive certification from the Honduran government. Our CHWs are tasked with treating and preventing common illnesses, and some of their responsibilities include first aid, supporting and caring for pregnancies and newborns, and responding to emergency situations. They are also responsible for following up with chronic patients to ensure proper administration of medications and treatments to avoid further complications. Additionally, CHWs provide support for brigades that are hosted in their area. At the completion of their training, CHWs are equipped with basic medical supplies and equipment provided by Global Brigades and its partners. The presence of these volunteers and their advocacy for health within their community contributes to the sustainability of health care supported by Global Brigades’ Medical Program and is one of the most impactful disease prevention strategies in rural communities across the globe.

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Since space in the CESAR is extremely limited, community members in Buena Vista attend Medical and Dental Brigade clinics hosted in the school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the school’s five classrooms. Doctors are able to spend an average of ten minutes with each patient. Each brigade sees an average of 714 patients, and an average of 75 dental procedures are performed. Of these, 75 are dental procedures. Each day of the brigade, an average of five to six educational charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 215
NEARBY COMMUNITIES: LIQUIDAMBOS, EL RETIRO, LAS UVAS
BRIGADE SITE: SCHOOL BUILDING

 

MEDICAL/DENTAL BRIGADES IN BUENA VISTA

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Marquette University July 2012 28 Boston University January 2013 51
Loyola University August 2013 25 NY Medical College April 2014 34
Michigan State December 2014 37 Seton Hall University  May 2015 31
North Park Vikings June 2016 25

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS

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 a dentist within a reasonable distance.

371

Patients Consultations

944

Flouride Treatments

181

Fillings Performed

92

Dental Education Workshops

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Since space in the CESAR is extremely limited, community members in Buena Vista attend Medical and Dental Brigade clinics hosted in the school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the school’s five classrooms. Doctors are able to spend an average of ten minutes with each patient. Each brigade sees an average of 714 patients, and an average of 75 dental procedures are performed. Of these, 75 are dental procedures. Each day of the brigade, an average of five to six educational charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 215
NEARBY COMMUNITIES: LIQUIDAMBOS, EL RETIRO, LAS UVAS
BRIGADE SITE: SCHOOL BUILDING

MEDICAL/DENTAL BRIGADES IN BUENA VISTA

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Marquette University July 2012 28 Boston University January 2013 51
Loyola University August 2013 25 NY Medical College April 2014 34
Michigan State December 2014 37 Seton Hall University  May 2015 31
North Park Vikings June 2016 25

Engineering

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

BUENA VISTA’S ENGINEERING CHALLENGE

Prior to their partnership with Global Brigades, Buena Vista had a partial simple gravity system that was constructed in 1987. The water source was a mountain spring located about one kilometer outside of the community that had a flow rate of 25 gallons per minute. The dam was a rough concrete structure with no filter and no proper intake infrastructure. The system used gravity to carry water from the source to two storage tanks within the community. The first tank was too small with a capacity of only 5,000 gallons and it also showed signs of leaking. The second take was even smaller (about 1,000 gallons). It was likely that the poor operation of the control valves at both of these tanks was responsible for the many pipe bursts that plagued the water system. The system did not have a distribution network as many of the houses were at a higher elevation than the storage tanks making the flow to these houses impossible. In order to retrieve water for household use, people – often women and children – would make multiple trips each day to the tanks carrying containers. Furthermore, the water was not chlorinated, leading to high rates of waterborne disease.

N/A

Brigade Volunteers

417

Project Beneficiaries

13.8

Kilometers of Pipeline Designed

N/A

Average Community Volunteers

BUENA VISTA’S ENGINEERING SOLUTION

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

BUENA VISTA’S WATER CHALLENGE

Prior to their partnership with Global Brigades, Buena Vista had a partial simple gravity system that was constructed in 1987. The water source was a mountain spring located about one kilometer outside of the community that had a flow rate of 25 gallons per minute. The dam was a rough concrete structure with no filter and no proper intake infrastructure. The system used gravity to carry water from the source to two storage tanks within the community. The first tank was too small with a capacity of only 5,000 gallons and it also showed signs of leaking. The second take was even smaller (about 1,000 gallons). It was likely that the poor operation of the control valves at both of these tanks was responsible for the many pipe bursts that plagued the water system. The system did not have a distribution network as many of the houses were at a higher elevation than the storage tanks making the flow to these houses impossible. In order to retrieve water for household use, people – often women and children – would make multiple trips each day to the tanks carrying containers. Furthermore, the water was not chlorinated, leading to high rates of waterborne disease.

65

Brigade Volunteers

417

Project Beneficiaries

13.8

Kilometers of Pipeline Installed

15,000

Volume of Storage Tanks (gallons)

BUENA VISTA’S WATER SOLUTION

WATER BRIGADES IN BUENA VISTA

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Wake Forest & University of Maryland August 2012 39
Summer Internship September 2012 6
DHL Professional Brigade September 2012 20

 

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

BUENA VISTA’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Rural communities in Honduras face a number of structural obstacles when it comes to economic growth. Access to credit is limited by physical barriers in transportation and exclusion from formal financial institutions. This exclusion can be the result of a lack of financial literacy, credit history, and land titles or substantial consumer goods to offer as collateral. If community members aren’t able to access these institutions, their only option is to solicit credit from coyotes, or loan sharks, who charge exorbitant interest rates. Additionally, maintaining savings is not a common practice in rural communities in Honduras.

The average family income in Buena Vista is estimated to be 700 Lempiras per month, which is approximately L140 (US $6) per person. The majority of homes are made of adobe. The main form of employment is agriculture on owned land, mostly for subsistence use, not commercial. The main products that are cultivated in the community are coffee, corn, and beans. Economic growth faces additional obstacles due to the community’s dependence on agriculture, as its inhabitants’ incomes are earned on a seasonal basis, determined by crop yields, and susceptible to external factors like weather and plant disease. Members of Buena Vista who own land can access credit through agricultural cooperatives outside of the community and their local community bank.

42

Brigade Volunteers

59

Loans Distributed

17

Savings Accounts Opened

$4,200

Capital Invested

BUENA VISTA’S MICRO-FINANCE SOLUTION

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. Focusing on providing access to credit and savings for their fellow community members, its volunteers are tasked with socializing the community bank and managing the funds. The Business Program provides training and support to help strengthen these community banks and stimulate the flow of capital within the community. These financial services are especially beneficial for subsistence farmers, who can invest more heavily in their production with a loan, pay back the loan after the harvest, and generate an income with any excess.

Buena Vista’s community bank, Cedros del Libano, was established in December 2014 with the support of Global Brigades. The community bank has ten female and seven male shareholders who meet in the kindergarten classroom the first Sunday of every month. 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 monthly share or fee for which they receive a proportional amount of the bank’s dividends at the end of its fiscal year.

BUENA VISTA’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

In addition to working with the community bank, the Business Program provides support and technical skills in establishing anchor businesses that generate additional capital. The goal is to better integrate isolated communities into the local economy and allow for growth. During this process, interested community members receive training to increase their familiarity with business terminology, develop their business administration skills, and promote innovation and diversification in the types of business ventures they pursue.

Buena Vista is currently in the process of establishing a new micro-enterprise. The Business Program will start hosting Business Brigades in Buena Vista to study the local market in hopes of identifying and developing potential business opportunities for the community as soon as feasible.

BUSINESS BRIGADES IN BUENA VISTA

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
St Louis University January 2016 19
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne January 2016 23

 

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

BUENA VISTA’S PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGE

Many community members in Buena Vista lack the resources to make improvements to their household infrastructure. The majority of homes in Buena Vista are made of adobe, mud, and straw. There are approximately 130 homes in Buena Vista, with an average of four people living in each. Prior to their partnership with Global Brigades, very few of the homes had access to hygiene stations, eco-stoves, or concrete floors. About twenty percent of homes had latrines. Hygiene stations are necessary to facilitate handwashing, allow water storage for hygienic processes, and offer privacy while bathing. Additionally, concrete floors reduce the incidence of parasitic infections and Chagas disease, eco-stoves evacuate smoke from the living space and decrease the risk of respiratory illnesses, and latrines improve hygiene practices and prevent contamination of natural water sources caused by open defecation. By partnering with Global Brigades’ Public Health Program, Buena Vista’s inhabitants were hoping to avoid preventable diseases and adopt proper hygiene and sanitation practices.

576

Brigade Volunteers

62

Eco-Stoves Constructed

60

Latrines Constructed

60

Floors Constructed

BUENA VISTA’S PUBLIC HEALTH SOLUTION

Beginning in January 2015, the Public Health Program worked with all interested families to finance and install household infrastructure projects, including hygiene stations for hand washing and showering, latrines, concrete floors, and water storage units. These projects allow community members to avoid preventable disease and foster improved hygiene and sanitation practices. During their time in Buena Vista, Public Health volunteers conducted educational workshops, or charlas, with community members on project maintenance and various public health topics. Additionally, Global Brigades trained a Basic Sanitation Committee, which advocates for proper hygiene and sanitation practices in addition to providing support for completed projects.

To promote the sustainability of the Public Health Program’s projects, families are required to contribute a portion of the project cost. This instills a sense of ownership and encourages proper maintenance of the projects. Therefore, before the Public Health Program started its projects, the Business Program worked with the community to train an existing community bank that would allow families to finance these contributions through microcredit. Although the Public Health Program has completed all planned projects in Buena Vista, loans remain available through the community bank and local masons who were contracted to complete the projects now hold the skills to perform any necessary repairs or construct new units.

 

PUBLIC HEALTH BRIGADES IN BUENA VISTA

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Brandeis University January 2015 29 University of Kentucky January 2015 18
Central Michigan University March 2015 25 Penn State March 2015 19
Washington University in St Louis March 2015 31 UC Irvine & UC Davis March 2015 25
University of Pittsburgh & University of South Florida May 2015 36 Emory University & University of Michigan May 2015 31
Case Western Reserve University May 2015 9 Rutgers University May 2015 32
University of Missouri May 2015 12 University of Arizona May 2015 31
SUNY Binghamton May 2015 34 Seton Hall University May 2015 31
University of Washington June 2015 27 Dublin City University & Drexel University June 2015 36
CSU LA, Oxford, University of College London September 2015 28 DePaul University November 2015 29
University of Kentucky & Missouri University January 2016 27 St Louis University January 2016 39
Kuztown University January 2016 27

Local Reference Points

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

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