El Limón

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

Overview

El Limón is located in the province of Coclé, in the western part of Panama. The typical house is made of cement blocks, wood, or clay. El Limón has a primary school and children must walk 45-60 minutes to the nearest middle school. Most of the community members work in agriculture, farming corn, plantains, and root vegetables. There is a health post in El Limón that sometimes receives mobile medical clinics, but often does not have the equipment, staff, or medications to serve the community. The closest health center is an hour away in the town of La Pintada. El Limón has a gravity-fed aqueduct, but in some zones of the community, water only reaches the houses for several hours a week. The top needs expressed by the community are dental clinics and improvements to their water system.

District: Penonome
Province: Coclé

Homes : 90
Population : 350
Water System : Yes (needs improvements)
Community Bank : No
Electricity : No
Health Center : No- closest in La Pintada
Community Health Workers : No
Homes with Latrines : 88%
Education : Up to 6th grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 45 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.

El Limón has a Puesto de Salud, and the nearest Centro de Salud is in La Pintada, which is 10 km away. In El Limón, community members expressed that the top 3 most prevalent illnesses are colds, fevers, and stomach aches.

25

Volunteers

334

Patient Consultations

78

Vision Screenings Provided

N/A

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2019

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

Some of the future CHW’s primary responsibilities will 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

El Limon primary school where clinics are held

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in El Limón’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: 418

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN EL LIMÓN

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of Maryland Baltimore Medical Brigade January 2020 25

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.

84

Dental Patient Consultations

45

Extractions

43

Fluoride treatments

N/A

Fillings Performed

BRIGADE INFORMATION

El Limon primary school where clinics are held

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in El Limón’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: 418

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN EL LIMÓN

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of Maryland Baltimore Medical Brigade January 2020 25

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

EL LIMÓN’S WATER CHALLENGE

El Limon water catchment

Prior to Global Brigades involvement, El Limón had a small gravity-fed water system. As the population of the community grew, the system’s tank was not large enough to provide consistent water to all the households. In certain zones of the community, water only reached houses for around 9 hours each week. Additionally, there were no water meters installed, so every household paid the same monthly water tariff regardless of the amount of water they used. This possibly led to overuse (using water to water land and livestock), causing additional strain on the small system.

401

Volunteers

N/A

Project Beneficiaries

N/A

Kilometers of Pipeline Installed

N/A

Storage Tank Volume (gallons)

EL LIMÓN’S WATER SOLUTION

A trench dug for pipes behind El Limon’s school

In December 2019, a partnership between El Limón, Global Brigades Panama, and Sustainable Harvest was officially formed. Repairs to the water system were custom-designed for El Limón in partnership with the Peace Corps Volunteer working in this community. 

It was determined that the best fit for El Limón would be to repair the existing water tank, construct a larger secondary tank, and install household connections with water meters. Brigades began working on this water system in January 2020. Upon completion the system will have a distribution network that connects the water storage tanks to 90 families, consisting of 350 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.  El Limón 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.

WATER VOLUNTEERS IN EL LIMÓN

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of Dayton Medical Brigade 1 & 2 January 2020 54 University of Southern California Medical Brigade January 2020 28
Saint Louis University Medical Brigade 1 & 2 January 2020 59 Carroll University Medical Brigade January 2020 20
Marquette University Medical Brigade 1 & 2 January 2020 68 Marquette University Dental Brigade January 2020 34
Marquette University Public Health Brigade January 2020 22 Governors State University Public Health Brigade January 2020 13
University of Maryland Baltimore Medical Brigade January 2020 25 Boston College Medical Brigade January 2020 21
Virginia Tech Medical Brigade January 2020 32 Southern Connecticut State University Medical Brigade January 2020 15
Columbia University Medical Brigade January 2020 10

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in El Limón but has not yet begun with the Business Program. In the planning phase, local staff is working with community members to assess the economic needs of the community, establish a community bank, and identify micro-enterprises that can benefit from on-brigade consultations.

Community Bank : No
Community Bank Members : 0
Economic Activities : Agriculture, Artisan crafts
Existing Microenterprises : 2 kiosks

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

EL LIMÓN’S PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGES

A sanitation unit constructed in El Limón Jan. 2020

Many community members in El Limón lack the resources to make improvements to their household infrastructure. Sanitation units (which include a latrine, shower, and sink) are necessary to facilitate hand-washing and offer privacy while bathing. Additionally, latrines improve hygiene practices and prevent contamination of natural water sources caused by open defecation. 

35

Volunteers

3

Sanitation Units Installed

N/A

People Benefitted with PH Infrastructure

1

Hours of Public Health Educational Workshops

EL LIMÓN’S PUBLIC HEALTH SOLUTION

PH Brigaders constructing the base for the school’s water storage tank.

Global Brigades started working in 2020 with El Limón and our partner organization, Sustainable Harvest, to implement the Public Health program with all families interested in installing household infrastructure projects. These projects allow community members to avoid preventable disease and foster improved hygiene and sanitation practices. During their time in El Limón, Public Health volunteers will conduct educational workshops, or charlas, with community members on project maintenance and various public health topics.

PUBLIC HEALTH VOLUNTEERS IN EL LIMÓN

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
Governors State University Public Health Brigade January 2020 13 Marquette University Public Health Brigade January 2020 22

Local Reference Points

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

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