Cañazas

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

Overview

Cañazas is located in the province of East Panama. The community is comprised of mostly Latino families. A typical house there is made of concrete blocks. Cañazas has a primary/middle school that offers from kindergarten to 9th grade. Most of the community members work in agriculture or day labor. The nearest health center is in the nearby town of Tortí, which means community members must wait for a bus and pay each way to visit a doctor. All of the homes in Cañazas are connected to a gravity-fed aqueduct. Approximately 86% of homes in the community have flushing toilets. Cañazas has a community bank that offers savings and loans services. The top needs expressed by the community were: improvements to the aging water system, improvements to the roads, and training on environmental conservation.

District: Chepo
Province: Panamá Este

*the above image of a farm in East Panama does not necessarily reflect the appearance of Cañazas

Homes : 350
Population : 700
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No- closest in Tortí
Community Health Workers : No
Homes with sanitation unit : 86%
Education : Up to 9th grade
Closest GB lodging facility : Hospedaje Tonosí

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

HEALTH CARE 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.

The closest Centro de Salud to Cañazas is in the town of Tortí, which means community members must wait and pay $2 to travel by bus every time they need to see a doctor or dentist. The most prevalent illnesses in Cañazas are common colds, diarrhea, anemia, hypertension, high cholesterol, and kidney problems.

370

Volunteers

828

Patient Consultations

103

Vision Screenings Provided

35

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2019

The community of Cañazas does not yet have Community Health Workers trained by Global Brigades. Global Brigades Panama Medical Program is working diligently to train volunteers as CHWs in its partner communities as part of the Holistic Model. Cañazas will receive training as soon as possible to further support the health of its community members.

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 Cañazas’ school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 11 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 234

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN CAÑAZAS:

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of California Santa Cruz Medical March 2012 38 Loyola Marymount University Medical August 2012 22
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Medical May 2016 25 Western Kentucky University Medical June 2017 24
University of Maryland Baltimore County Dental & Medical March 2019 33 Michigan State University Medical March 2020 21

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS

A dental charla in Ipeti Emberá, Panama

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.

443

Dental Patient Consultations

121

Extractions

330

Fluoride Treatments

N/A

Fillings Performed

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Cañazas’ school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 11 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 234

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN CAÑAZAS:

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of California Santa Cruz Medical March 2012 38 Loyola Marymount University Medical August 2012 22
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Medical May 2016 25 Western Kentucky University Medical June 2017 24
University of Maryland Baltimore County Dental & Medical March 2019 33 Michigan State University Medical March 2020 21

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Cañazas but has not yet begun with the Water Program. If there is a need, the financing, delivery, and installation of a water system infrastructure, or repairs to existing infrastructure will start as soon as feasible.

Water System : Yes
System Type : Gravity Aqueduct
Homes Connected to Water : 100%
Water Council : Yes

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

CAÑAZAS’ ECONOMIC CHALLENGE:

Community members in Cañazas lack access to financial resources within the community. 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 micro-enterprises to grow and thrive. Most community members cite the distance to the nearest bank as the main discouragement to having a personal savings account. Even if individuals wish to travel the distance, not all community members can become members of these financial institutions–cooperatives require monthly membership fees, savings accounts often require a fixed income, and the cost of travel provides an additional barrier.

N/A

Volunteers

15

Savings Accounts Opened

N/A

Loans Administered

N/A

Capital Invested

CAÑAZAS’ MICROFINANCE SOLUTION:

leaders of the Cañazas caja, 2019

The Global Brigades Business and Microfinance Team trained a new Community Bank in Cañazas in September of 2019. Following the launch of the project, Microfinance and Business brigades arrived with financial training to community members and bank’s executive team in order to strengthen the knowledge and trust in the Community Bank. This encouraged the opening of more savings accounts, growth of seed capital, and upon the completion of six months of executive board training, the Community Bank began giving out loans to bank members to spur economic growth and home improvement projects.

CAÑAZAS’ BUSINESS SOLUTION

In addition to the Community Bank, Global Brigades supports established and start-up micro-enterprises. Agro-businesses are prominent forms of commerce within this community and adequate book-keeping and maintaining relationships with customers, as well as proper agriculture cultivation can lead to increased revenues for business owners and employees.

Global Brigades is currently in the planning phase of hosting Business Brigades in Cañazas. Business consulting will begin as soon as it is feasible.

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Cañazas but has not yet begun with the Public Health Program. If there is a need, the financing, delivery, and installation of sanitation units will start as soon as feasible.

Homes with flushing toilets : 86%
Homes with latrines : N/A
Homes with baths/showers : 100%
Common house materials : concrete blocks

Local Reference Points

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

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