Ipeti Colono

Overview

Ipeti Colono is a community located along the scenic Pan-American highway near the town of Torti in the Panama Este province. Global Brigades began working with community members in Ipeti Colono in 2012 with the introduction of medical brigades. Community members have access to credit through an established and thriving Community Bank which will support continued investment in local businesses and home improvement projects for families within the community. Ipeti Colono is largely an agricultural community, where residents work on farms to produce crops such as corn and rice. These agricultural activities are the main source of income for 80% of residents. A typical home in Ipeti Colono is made of cement blocks, zinc, or wood. Within Ipeti Colono is a single primary school, where half of the community’s population attends, though there are only four teachers for the whole community. Ipeti Colono does not have its own health center, forcing residents to travel to Torti for medical or dental care. There are no lawyers within the community, though a volunteer judicial facilitator has some legal training, and provides guidance to community members on legal issues. The top needs expressed by community members when GB began working in Ipeti Colono were: improved access to healthcare, improved roads, and improvements to the aqueduct.

Corregimiento: Torti
District: Chepo

Homes : 79
Population : 281
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No, closest is in Tortí 20 minutes away
Community Health Workers : Yes
Homes with Latrines : 40%
Education in the Community : Up to 6th grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 1 hour

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 people of Ipeti Colono must travel 20-30 minutes by bus to Torti to access the nearest Centro de Salud. The three most prevalent illnesses in Ipeti Colono are colds, gastrointestinal diseases, and skin infections.

305

Volunteers

1,469

Patient Consultations

N/A

Vision Screenings

35

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS:

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2019

Ipeti Colono 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.

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Ipeti Colono’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: 239

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN IPETI COLONO:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Virginia / Vanderbilt University March 2012 41 California State University East Bay June 2013 31
City University of New York Macaulay Honors College August 2012 27 University of Oregon June 2014 28
Spelman College March 2014 29 City University of New York Macaulay Honors College August 2014 33
Southwestern Oklahoma State University School of Pharmacy May 2015 24 University of California Irving June 2016 28
Boston College January 2019 29 Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals June 2019 14

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.

206

Dental Patient Consultations

90

Extractions

182

Fluoride Treatments

3

Fillings Performed

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Ipeti Colono’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: 239

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN IPETI COLONO:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Virginia / Vanderbilt University March 2012 41 California State University East Bay June 2013 31
City University of New York Macaulay Honors College August 2012 27 University of Oregon June 2014 28
Spelman College March 2014 29 City University of New York Macaulay Honors College August 2014 33
Southwestern Oklahoma State University School of Pharmacy May 2015 24 University of California Irving June 2016 28
Boston College January 2019 29 Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals June 2019 14

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Ipeti Colono 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
System Type : Gravity aqueduct
Homes Connected to Water : 100%
Water Council : Yes

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

IPETI COLONO’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

A cattle raising business in Ipeti Colono

Community members in Ipeti Colono lack access to financial resources within the community. The majority of community members do not have bank accounts and there are 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 in Torti, the nearest large community, do not approve loans to community members without a fixed income, making it difficult for local micro-enterprises to grow and thrive. 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.

46

Volunteers

68

Loans Disbursed

27

Saving Accounts Opened

$5,312

Capital Invested

IPETI COLONO’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

The Business Program works to stimulate the local economy by organizing community volunteers around a community bank, or caja rural, which is entirely owned and operated by its members. The Business Program provides training and support to help strengthen these community banks. In order to pool their limited funds together, increase the capital available to the community bank, and expand the impact of its financial services, each member contributes a capitalization fee for which they receive a proportional amount of the bank’s dividends at the end of its fiscal year. Upon the completion of six months of executive board training, the community bank begins giving out loans to bank members to spur economic growth and home improvement projects.

Ipeti Colono’s community bank was established in 2016 with the support of Global Brigades.

IPETI COLONO’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

Nervis Garcia, sells chickens and hand-made bags in Ipeti Colono

In addition to the Community Bank, Global Brigades supports established and start-up micro-enterprises. In Ipeti Colono there are several 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.

 

Nervis’ chicken coop

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 IPETI COLONO:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Southern California Business Brigade March 2017 22 Boston University Business Brigade May 2017 13
University of Houston Business Brigade August 2018 11

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Ipeti Colono 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 Latrines : 100%
Homes with Flushing Toilets : 40%
Homes with Baths/Showers : unknown
Common House Materials : cement blocks, zinc, wood

Local Reference Points

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

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