El Charco

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

Overview

El Charco is located in the mountainous region of central Nicaragua in the department of León. A typical house is made of cement block. The community has access to a health center in the neighboring community, El Coyol, 3km away. There is a multigrade primary school where 60 students attend, with five teachers and three classrooms. The primary school goes up to grade 6, and there is no secondary school located in El Charco. To attend secondary school, student walk about one hour to the neighboring community, Santa Rosa, 3Km away. Most people in the community work as agricultural laborers and miners.

Global Brigades is currently working with the Medical Program in El Charco and has been since the first Medical Brigade in March 2017. In their communication with Global Brigades, the top needs expressed were limited access to potable water, shortage of medication, lack of access to medical attention, and malnutrition. El Charco is on the waitlist for continuing Holistic Model implementation as part of Global Brigades’ strategic plan in Nicaragua.

Municipality: Santa Rosa del Peñon

Department: León

Homes : 100
Population : 440
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : No
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : Yes
Community Health Workers : Yes
% of Homes with Latrines : 50%
Education : Up to 6th Grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 1.5 hr

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

HEALTH CARE ACCESS:

Healthcare access in Nicaragua is structured by the Ministry of Health, based in the capital, Managua. From there, each of the fifteen departments has it’s own department hospital, which is overseen by the SILAIS administrations (Sistema Local de Atención Integral en Salud). At a municipality level, there is a health center (Centro de Salud) for every municipality within the department. While they are not hospitals, health centers in the municipality are typically staffed with one doctor, and two nurses, that can attend patients with chronic, communicable, or noncommunicable diseases, as well as pregnancies. They however, do not have the ability to perform surgeries. Lastly, most but not all communities have a Puesto de Salud, a smaller health center. These health centers are usually staffed with only one nurse and a rotating physician. Physicians are staffed in these health centers by Nicaragua’s Social Service. This is an initiative that requires Nicaraguan medical students to do two years of service in rural communities prior to graduating.  The physician density in Nicaragua is approximately 1,099 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. This density is significantly lower for the 40.6% of the population that lives in rural areas. It is for this reason that Nicaragua’s Social Service initiative brings medical students to these communities. However, access remains limited since these training physicians may be assigned to up to fifteen communities at a time.  

El Charco has a traveling doctor visit their community once a week. When the doctor is not present, El Charco utilizes the health center in the neighboring community of El Coyol, 3km away. Even with this access, it is important to note that medications, supplies, and materials are often not available in these health centers and are dependent on government funding. There is no access to private pharmacies. Additionally, as noted above, access to trained medical professionals is limited.

During their initial communications with Global Brigades, the top three illnesses in children that El Charco expressed are diarrheal diseases, respiratory infections, and pneumonia. For adults, common illnesses are chronic diseases hypertension, as well as kidney infections and gastritis. Without access to trained healthcare professionals and medications, chronic diseases can go unmanaged, leading to further health problems. Acute illnesses can also be severe and affect the quality of life.

78

Brigade Volunteers

2014

Patient Consultations

126

Pap Smears Performed

42

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER:

El Charco has three Community Health Workers that are trained by the Ministry of Health annually. Community Health Workers, or Brigadistas de Salud, work on a volunteer basis as advocates for healthcare within their communities. They 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. Global Brigades is planning to establish a partnership with El Charco Community Health Workers and the Ministry of Health, and is looking forward to providing these Community Health Workers with blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, glucometers, and first aid kits, to facilitate more impactful work. 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:

Community members from El Charco attend Medical Brigades in the community house of El Charco. This location has rooms for triage, consultation, dentistry and pharmacy stations. The average amount of patients seen per day is 223 patients.

El Charco offers strong support on Medical Brigades from the community volunteers. One way the 8-15 community volunteers assist is by running intake. Intake is the very first station of the clinic and is where the community volunteers write down the patient’s name, date of birth, community, and identification number. Additionally, community volunteers manage clinic organization. They set up tables and chairs in the clinic prior to the brigade’s arrival as well as direct patients to the next medical station, once the clinic has opened for the day. Lastly, community volunteers lead adult health education sessions on sanitation and hygiene, chronic diseases, contraception, Women’s health, and water purification. El Charco’s community volunteers are essential the efficiency and effectiveness of Medical Brigades.

AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED PER DAY: 240

NEARBY COMMUNITIES: EL CONFITE, EL REGADIO, EL COYOL, TALOLINGA, LA PITA, SANTA RITA, BUENA VISTA, TIERRAS BLANCAS

BRIGADE SITE: COMMUNITY HOUSE

 

MEDICAL BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
New Jersey Institute of Technology March 2017 22 Rutgers University January 2018 31
University of Central Florida/ Florida International University/ University of Utah May 2018 25

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS:

While medical access is low, dental access is even more sparing. Dental services are not available within the community health centers, or even the municipality health centers. Instead, if a patient was needing dental care, they would be required to travel to one of the country’s fifteen department hospitals. This could be up to a 2-3 hour bus ride, with many needing to first walk or horseback ride to the bus stop.

326

Patients Consultations

280

Flouride Treatments

341

Fillings Performed

36

Dental Education Workshops

BRIGADE INFORMATION:

Working closely with the Medical Program, the Dental Program provides fillings, extractions, and fluoride treatments as a standard part of medical brigades. Community members from El Charco attend Dental Brigades in the community house of El Charco. The average amount of patients seen per day is 36 patients, with approximately 10-15 minutes per patient.

El Charco offers strong support on Dental Brigades from the community volunteers. One way the 8-15 community volunteers assist is by running intake. Intake is the very first station of the clinic and is where the community volunteers write down the patient’s name, date of birth, community, and identification number. Additionally, community volunteers manage clinic organization. They set up tables and chairs in the clinic prior to the brigade’s arrival as well as direct patients to the next medical station, once the clinic has opened for the day. Lastly, community volunteers lead adult health education sessions on oral health and hygiene. El Charco’s community volunteers are essential the efficiency and effectiveness of Dental Brigades.

AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED PER DAY: 33

NEARBY COMMUNITIES: EL CONFITE, EL REGADIO, EL COYOL, TALOLINGA, LA PITA, SANTA RITA, BUENA VISTA, TIERRAS BLANCAS

BRIGADE SITE: COMMUNITY HOUSE

DENTAL BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
New Jersey Institute of Technology March 2017 22 Rutgers University January 2018 31
University of Central Florida/ Florida International University/ University of Utah May 2018 25

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

El Charco’s current water system was built around 2012. It is a mixed system with a water tank and pump. The system has pipelines that reach 60% of the homes in El Charco.  In summer, the population has access to water for two hours a day on average. The capacity of the water tank is small compared to the number of people it needs to supply. Additionally, there are not strong practices of  water purification, which can lead to water-borne illnesses in the community. El Charco has an elected water committee that maintains the system, and collects community member’s monthly water fee of 100 cordobas (approximately $3.50 USD).

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

 

Water System : Yes
Type of Water System : Mixed- Water tank with pump
% of Homes with Access to Water : 60%
Water Council : Yes

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

El Charco is a community that is characterized by being surrounded by gold mines. These gold mines belong to large private companies, many of which the community members work under. Other of the main activities are farming and agriculture, predominantly corn and beans.

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in El Charco 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 : No
Economic Activities : Agricultural labor, gold mining
Existing Microenterprises : No

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in El Charco 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.

% of Homes with Latrines : 50%
% of Homes with Showers : 7%
% of Homes with Washing Station : 10%
Common House Materials : Cement block

Local Reference Points

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

  • Feature