Guacuco Latino

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

Overview

Guacuco Latino is located in the province of Panama Este, about 2 hours east of Panama City. The community is comprised of Latino and indigenous Guna families. A typical house there is made of cement blocks and zinc. Guacuco Latino has a primary school that offers from kindergarten to 6th grade. Most of the community members work in agriculture, farming corn and raising livestock. A significant amount of community members also work for businesses in the nearby town of Tortí. There are no health facilities in Guacuco, but the health center in Tortí is a 15-minute bus ride away. All of the homes in Guacuco Latino are connected to a gravity-fed aqueduct, and about 30% of homes have a flushing toilet. The top needs expressed by the community were improvements to the health center and to the school’s infrastructure.

Guacuco is divided into two communities: Guacuco Guna and Guacuco Latino. Global Brigades has been able to host medical clinics in the Guacuco Latino portion and members from both parts of the general community are able to attend.

Corregimiento: Torti
District: Chepo

Homes : 300
Population : 900
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : No
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No, closest in Tortí
Community Health Workers : No
Homes with Latrines : 100%
Education : Up to 6th grade
Distance from lodging facility : 15 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.

Guacuco Latino does not have any health facilities in the community, and the nearest Centro de Salud is a short bus ride away in the town of Tortí. The most prevalent illnesses in Guacuco Latino are: Gastrointestinal problems, fevers, and high blood pressure.

296

Volunteers

1,624

Patient Consultations

21

Vision Screenings Provided

32

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2019

The community of Guacuco Latino 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. Guacuco Latino 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

Brigaders pose outside Guacuco Latino primary school

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Guacuco Latino’s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Volunteers assist with intake and triage, then shadow local doctors, dentists, and pharmacists. Each day of the brigade, an average of 5 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 247

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN GUACUCO LATINO

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
Santa Clara University Medical March 2012 34 University of Florida & University of San Francisco Medical Dec 2012 27
Arcadia University Christiana Medical May 2013 27 Yale University Medical March 2014 30
West Virginia University Medical March 2015 39 Arizona State University Medical March 2016 30
Regis University Medical Aug 2016 25 Western Kentucky University Medical June 2017 24
University of Maryland Baltimore County Dental & Medical March 2019 33

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.

372

Dental Patient Consultations

126

Extractions

263

Fluoride Applications

N/A

Fillings

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Brigaders pose outside Guacuco Latino primary school

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Guacuco Latino’s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Volunteers assist with intake and triage, then shadow local doctors, dentists, and pharmacists. Each day of the brigade, an average of 5 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 247

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN GUACUCO LATINO

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
Santa Clara University Medical March 2012 34 University of Florida & University of San Francisco Medical Dec 2012 27
Arcadia University Christiana Medical May 2013 27 Yale University Medical March 2014 30
West Virginia University Medical March 2015 39 Arizona State University Medical March 2016 30
Regis University Medical Aug 2016 25 Western Kentucky University Medical June 2017 24
University of Maryland Baltimore County Dental & Medical March 2019 33

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Guacuco Latino 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
System Type : Gravity Aqueduct
Homes connected to water : 100%
Water council : Yes

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Guacuco Latino 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 : N/A
Economic Activities : farming, cattle raising, skilled labor
Existing microenterprises : 1 small shop

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Guacuco Latino 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. 

Homes with flushing toilet : 30%
Homes with Latrine : N/A
Homes with bath/shower : N/A
Common house materials : concrete blocks, zinc

Local Reference Points

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

  • Feature