Canglón

Overview

Canglón is a small community located in the biodiverse region of Darien roughly four hours from Panama City. Global Brigades began working with community members in 2015 through local business consulting on Business Brigades and the establishment of the Community Bank. A typical house in Canglón is made of concrete bricks. There is a primary and middle-school in Canlgón that offers up to 9th grade. To attend high school, children must travel 40 minutes away to the town of Metetí. The nearest health facility is also in Metetí, which means community members must wait and pay $2 to travel by bus each time they attend the clinic. All of the homes in Canglón are connected to a water system, but it is in need of improvement. About 50% of homes have an adequate toilet or latrine. The main form of employment is agriculture on privately owned farms. Community members cultivate rice, yucca, ñame, and corn as well as raise livestock. Community members have access to credit through the thriving Community Bank which will support continued investment in local businesses and home improvement projects. The top 3 needs expressed by the community were improvements to the road, improvements to the water system, and increased access to health services.

Corregimiento: Metetí
District: Pinogana

Homes : 183
Population : 725
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : Nearest is in Meteti
Community Health Workers : Yes
Homes with Latrines : approx. 50%
Education in the Community : Up to 9th grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 40 minutes

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.

Canglón has a Puesto de Salud. The closest corresponding Centro de Salud is in Metetí, about 40 minutes away, which costs about $2 by bus. The most common illnesses seen within the community are diarrhea, fever, and the common cold.

143

Volunteers

903

Patient Consultations

137

Vision Screenings

28

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS:

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2019

Canglón 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.

A brigader assists with a clinic in Canglón’s school

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Canglón’s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 7 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 248

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN CANGLÓN:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Missouri Medical Brigade May 2016 30
Northeastern University &University of Mary Washington Medical Brigade March 2019 38
Western Kentucky University Medical Brigade July 2019 28
Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Brigade January 2020 20

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS

A dental charla in Ipeti Emberá, Panama

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 dentist within a reasonable distance.

423

Dental Patients

173

Fluoride Treatments

140

Extractions

29

Fillings Performed

A brigader presents a dental charla in Canglón

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Canglón’s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 7 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 248

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN CANGLÓN:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Missouri Medical Brigade May 2016 30
Northeastern University &University of Mary Washington Medical Brigade March 2019 38
Western Kentucky University Medical Brigade July 2019 28
Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Brigade January 2020 20

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Canglón but has not yet begun with the Water Program. If there is a need, the Water Program will begin implementing a new water system or any necessary repairs to existing infrastructure as soon as feasible.

 

Water System : Yes
Type of System : Gravity aqueduct
Homes with Access to Water : 100%
Water Council : Yes

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

CANGLÓN’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Community members in Canglón 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.

91

Volunteers

155

Loans Disbursed

26

Saving Accounts Opened

$11,523

Capital Invested

CANGLÓN’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

Through Global Brigades Business and

GB Panama Director checking in with bank leaders at the 2017 Caja Summit

Microfinance initiatives, Canglón has established its first Community Bank in early 2015. With its opening, community members have access to credit and savings accounts for the first time. Through Microfinance and Business brigades Global Brigades can strengthen both the knowledge and trust in the Community Bank. This encourages the opening of more savings accounts, growth of seed capital for small businesses to invest in resources they need to expand, and access to loans which can spur economic growth and home improvement projects.

CANGLÓN’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

 

In addition to the Community Bank, Global Brigades supports established and start-up micro-enterprises. There are currently seven businesses that have received financial training and business recommendations. 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.

As members of the Community Bank these 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.

BUSINESS VOLUNTEERS IN CANGLÓN:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Miami University of Ohio Business Brigade May 2015 13 London School of Economics & Oxford University Business Brigade June 2015 15
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Business Brigade January 2016 20 Manchester University Business Brigade June 2016 7
University of Houston Business Brigade May 2017 17 London School of Economics & University of California San Diego Business Brigade June 2019 19

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

CANGLÓN’S PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGE

Many community members in Canglón lacked the resources needed to improve their homes and prevent diseases caused by unsafe living conditions. Only around 50% of homes in Canglón had adequate sanitation services prior to the arrival of Global Brigades. This lack of improved sanitation led to high rates of diarrhea and water-borne disease.

Although community members recognized the problems inherent to their living environments, they did not have the economic resources nor the technical knowledge needed to address them. It also was necessary to increase the level of awareness concerning sanitation and the importance of health in the community.

36

Volunteers

7

Sanitation Units Constructed

15

People Benefitted with PH Infrastructure

3

Hours of Public Health Education

CANGLÓN’S PUBLIC HEALTH SOLUTION

Bio-digestor tank in Canglón

Starting in 2020, Global Brigades has been working with Canglón to implement the Public Health program with all families families interested in installing household infrastructure projects. To receive a bio-digestor toilet, families must create a “public health pre-savings” account with the community bank. These projects allow community members to avoid preventable disease and foster improved hygiene and sanitation practices.

During their time in Canglón, Public Health volunteers will help construct bio-digestor toilets. They will also conduct educational workshops, or charlas, with community members on project maintenance and various public health topics.

PUBLIC HEALTH VOLUNTEERS IN CANGLÓN:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Milwaukee School of Engineering Water February 2020 12
University of Portland Public Health February 2020 14
Milwaukee School of Engineering Public Health February 2020 10

Local Reference Points

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

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