La Ermita de Saraguasca*

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

Overview

La Ermita de Saraguasca is located in the mountainous region of central Nicaragua in the department of Jinotega. A typical house is made of cement block or wood. The community has access to a health center in the neighboring community, Las Lomas, 5 Km away. Within La Ermita de Saraguasca is a primary school that 27 students attend the primary school with two teachers and one classroom. The primary school goes up to grade six, and there is no secondary school located in La Ermita de Saraguasca. Most people in the community work as agricultural laborers, day laborers, or cattle raisers.

La Ermita de Saraguasca was one of the first communities in Nicaragua that Global Brigades began a partnership with, in 2013. Prior to Global Brigades programming, the top three needs expressed were lack of latrines or properly functioning latrines, limited access to potable water, and limited access to medications. Since then, La Ermita de Saraguasca has attended Medical Brigades in a nearby neighboring community, as well as partnered with the Water Program to have a system completed in 2016. La Ermita de Saraguasca is on the waitlist for continuing Holistic Model implementation as part of Global Brigades’ strategic plan in Nicaragua.

Municipality: Jinotega
Department: Jinotega

*Brigades to this community are temporarily suspended at this time

Homes : 34
Population : 127
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No
Community Health Workers : Yes
% of Homes with Latrines : 73%
Education : Up to 6th Grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 58 km

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.  

La Ermita de Saraguasca has access to a health center in a neighboring community, Las Lomas, 5 Km 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 illnesses in children that La Ermita de Saraguasca expressed were cough, pneumonia, flu, and fever. For adults, common illnesses are chronic diseases such as hypertension, as well as kidney infection 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.

*These statistics represent brigades in the community of Tomatoya, where community members from La Ermita de Saraguasca attend Medical Brigades.

309

Volunteers*

2,362

Patient Consultations*

N/A

Vision Screenings Provided *

N/A

Health Education Workshops*

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

La Ermita de Saraguasca has 2 Community Health Workers that are trained by the Ministry of Health monthly. 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 La Ermita de Saraguasca 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 La Ermita de Saraguasca attend Medical Brigades in the health center of Tomatoya, about 5 Km away. This location has rooms for triage, consultation, dentistry and pharmacy stations. 

La Ermita de Saraguasca 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. La Ermita de Saraguasca’s community volunteers are essential the efficiency and effectiveness of Medical Brigades.

AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED PER DAY: 617
NEARBY COMMUNITIES: CORRAL DE PIEDRA, POTRERILLO, EL ZAPOTE, TOMATOYA

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.

*These statistics represent brigades in the community of Tomatoya, where community members from La Ermita de Saraguasca attend Medical Brigades.

109

Patient Consultations*

72

Number of Extractions*

37

Fillings Performed*

N/A

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 La Ermita de Saraguasca attend Dental Brigades in the health center of Tomatoya, about 5 Km away.

La Ermita de Saraguasca 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. La Ermita de Saraguasca’s community volunteers are essential the efficiency and effectiveness of Dental Brigades.

AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED PER DAY: 617
NEARBY COMMUNITIES: CORRAL DE PIEDRA, POTRERILLO, EL ZAPOTE, TOMATOYA

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

LA ERMITA DE SARAGUASCA’S WATER CHALLENGE

Prior to Global Brigades involvement, La Ermita de Saraguasca had a public, hand-pumped well, which was located approximately .5km from most homes in the community. The water was typically pumped into jugs or buckets and carried back to the home to use for cooking, cleaning, and hygiene. The well did not have sufficient amounts of water for the entire community. Additionally, the well was completely dry certain months of the year. When the well was dry, community members walked approximately 3km to a neighboring community to use their well. The walk required community members to hike down a mountain, across a valley, and up the adjacent mountain to arrive at the well – only to carry water 3km back home. 

 

1,502

Water Brigade Volunteers

171

Project Beneficiaries

6

Kilometers of Piping Installed

6,129

Storage Tank Volume (gallons)

LA ERMITA DE SARAGUASCA‘S WATER SOLUTION

From January to April 2016, 1,541 volunteers partnered with community members from La Ermita de Saraguasca to complete 85% of the water project. Additionally, a 23-cubic meter concrete water storage tank was constructed. Once trench digging was complete, what was left was installing one submersible electric pump as well as water meters in each of the receiving homes. An electric pump was needed to carry water against gravity to homes at higher elevation. The problem however, was that at the time, La Ermita de Saraguasca did not have electricity. Global Brigades and local NGO partner, AVODEC, submitted requests to the national electricity company to install electricity within the community. Due to the national electricity company’s many requests and limited budget, it took approximately one year to complete the request in La Ermita de Saraguasca. Once installed, it was not only a success in the community to have electricity, but it also meant that the water system could begin being pumped out to households! The inauguration of the system was hosted on July 7th, 2017. Prior to the celebration, system tests were conducted to guarantee that the water was potable and had sufficient flow rate. Water quality results indicated the water was safe for drinking. The capacity test demonstrated 22 gallons per minute, with the 7.5 hp electric submersible pump. This test showed that the system was ready to supply it’s projected 31 households, with 170 individuals! In addition to construction, a water and sanitation council was trained to empower the community to manage the maintenance, repairs, and treatment of their own water system. The water system was funded in part by Global Brigades ($27,740.00), and local NGO partner, AVODEC ($832.00). $9,349.00 in funding was raised by the community of La Ermita de Saraguasca.

WATER BRIGADES IN LA ERMITA DE SARAGUASCA

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
DePaul University Medical Brigade January 2016 24 University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Brigade January 2016 32
University of California – Los Angeles Medical Brigade January 2016 51 Oakland University Medical Brigade January 2016 55
University of Miami Medical Brigade January 2016 33 Ball State University Water Brigade January 2016 24
Governors State University Public Health Brigade & University of Wisconsin – Madison Medical Brigade January 2016 30 University of Maryland Baltimore Medical Brigade January 2016 37
Carroll University Medical Brigade January 2016 25 State University of New York Binghamton Medical Brigade January 2016 29
Wellesley College Medical Brigade January 2016 29 Rutgers University January 2016 45
University of Wisconsin – Madison Medical Brigade & University of Virginia Medical Brigade January 2016 54 Texas A&M University Medical Brigade January 2016 43
Marquette University Medical Brigade January 2016 76 Albion University Medical Brigade January 2016 37
Boston University Medical Brigade January 2016 13 University of Dayton Medical Brigade January 2016 58
University of San Diego Medical Brigade January 2016 29 Milwaukee School of Engineering Medical Brigade March 2016 48
Stetson University Medical Brigade March 2016 27 University of Münster Public Health Brigade March 2016 15
Carnegie Mellon University Medical Brigade March 2016 28 Arcadia University – Glenside Medical Brigade March 2016 44
Arcadia University – Christiana Medical Brigade March 2016 27 University of Notre Dame Medical Brigade March 2016 16
Texas A&M International University Medical Brigade March 2016 20 Vanderbilt University Medical Brigade March 2016 35
University of Notre Dame Medical Brigade March 2016 35 Pennsylvania State University March 2016 31
RWTH Aachen University Medical Brigade March 2016 15 Indiana University Water Brigade & University of Arizona Water Brigade March 2016 16
College of William and Mary Medical Brigade March 2016 34 University of Southern California Medical Brigade March 2016 29
University of Maryland Baltimore County Medical Brigade March 2016 54 Indiana University Public Health Brigade & University of Maryland Baltimore County Medical Brigade March 2016 17
University of Denver Medical Brigade & University of Arizona Medical Brigade March 2016 10 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medical Brigade & University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Medical Brigade March 2016 17
University of Denver Medical Brigade March 2016 39 University of California –
Davis Public Health Brigade & University of California – Irvine Medical Brigade
March 2016 17
Marquette University Public Health Brigade March 2016 27 Ohio State University March 2016 10
West Virginia University Public Health Brigade March 2016 20 University of Arkansas Medical Brigade & Pace University Medical Brigade March 2016 34
Santa Clara University Medical Brigade March 2016 28 Northwestern University Public Health Brigade March 2016 14
Louisiana State University Medical Brigade March 2016 49 Palo Alto Brigades Medical Brigade & University of California – Davis Medical Brigade March 2016 21
West Virginia University Medical Brigade March 2016 48

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

LA ERMITA DE SARAGUASCA’S BUSINESS CHALLENGE

Rural communities in Nicaragua face a number of structural obstacles when it comes to economic growth. Access to credit is limited by physical barriers in transportation and exclusion from formal financial institutions. This exclusion can be the result of a lack of financial literacy, credit history, and land titles or substantial assets consumer goods to offer as collateral. Additionally, maintaining savings is not a common practice in rural communities in Nicaragua, and when families do save, they often do not have a safe place to do so.

In La Ermita de Saraguasca, the average family income is quite low. The main form of employment in La Ermita de Saraguasca is agriculture. Economic growth faces additional obstacles due to the community’s dependence on agriculture and day laboring, as its inhabitants’ incomes are earned on a seasonal basis, determined by crop yields, and susceptible to external factors like drought, disease, and international market trends.

*No volunteers have been able to support in this program but continued progress in the community has been able to be made through the generous support of the Merkel Foundation.

0*

Volunteers

12

Loans Disbursed

38

Savings Accounts Opened

$270

Capital Invested

LA ERMITA DE SARAGUASCA’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

The Business Program works to stimulate the local economy by organizing community residents around a community bank, which is entirely owned and operated by its members. Focusing on providing access to low-interest loans credit and savings for the members, its Bank Council members are tasked with growing the community bank and managing the funds. The Business Program provides training and support to help strengthen these community banks and stimulate the flow of capital within the community. These financial services can be used by members for everything from farmers taking out loans to buy their seeds before planting, to a family taking out a loan to cover medical expenses. 

La Ermita de Saraguasca’s  community bank, named Milagro de Dios, was established March 2018 with the support of Global Brigades. The community bank has 16  females and  15 male shareholders who meet in weekly. In order to pool funds together, increase the capital available to the community bank, and expand the impact of its financial services, each member contributes a monthly share or fee for which they receive a proportional amount of the bank’s dividends at the end of its fiscal year. Additionally, Global Brigades provides matching capitalizations once these capitalizations meet established benchmarks.

Global Brigades and La Ermita de Saraguasca’s community bank are working towards being able to disburse loans, increase savings and train individuals on financial management

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

The community is in the phase of planning for Public Health projects. Currently, the families are saving to purchase the sanitary units.

N/A

Volunteers

18

Sanitation Units Installed

82

People Benefited with Public Health Infrastructure

N/A

Hours of Public Health Education

Local Reference Points

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

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