La Mata

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

Overview

La Mata is located in Cocle, in the western part of Panama. The community is comprised of mostly Latino families. A typical house there is made of concrete blocks. Most of the community members work in unskilled labor. La Mata has a primary school and secondary school that offers from kindergarten to 12th grade. There is a health post in the community, but it does not always have adequate staff, medication, or equipment. All of the homes in La Mata are connected to a gravity-fed aqueduct, but the population of the community has outgrown the system and the water must be rationed. All homes in La Mata have adequate toilets or latrines. La Mata does not have a community bank that offers savings and loans services, but it does have several small businesses. The three top needs expressed by La Mata were improvements to the water system, better roads, and larger schools.

Corregimiento: Rio Hato
District: Antón
Province: Cocle

Homes : 150
Population : 600
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : No
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No- only health post
Community Health Workers : No
Homes with Adequate Sanitation : 100%
Education : Up to 6th grade
Distance from Panama Office : 85 kilometers

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.

La Mata has a Puesto de Salud and the closest Centro de Salud is in the town of Antón. In La Mata the most common illnesses are diabetes, skin allergies, hypertension, and the common cold.

255

Volunteers

1,769

Patient Consultations

N/A

Vision Screenings

99

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2019

The community of La Mata 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. La Mata 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 attend a patient at the triage station at a clinic in La Mata

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in La Mata‘s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 14 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 462

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN LA MATA

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of Kansas Medical May 2016 73 Kansas City Medical School Medical May 2017 67
Marquette University Medical January 2019 44 Marquette University Medical May 2019 23
Illinois Wesleyan University Medical June 2019 19 University of Dayton Medical January 2020 29

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.

1,022

Dental Patient Consultations

482

Fluoride Treatments

302

Extractions Performed

43

Fillings Performed

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Brigaders attend a patient at the triage station at a clinic in La Mata

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in La Mata‘s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 14 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 462

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN LA MATA

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of Kansas Medical May 2016 73 Kansas City Medical School Medical May 2017 67
Marquette University Medical January 2019 44 Marquette University Medical May 2019 23
Illinois Wesleyan University Medical June 2019 19 University of Dayton Medical January 2020 29

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in La Mata 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
Type of System : Gravity aqueduct
Homes connected to water : N/A
Water Council : Yes

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in La Mata has not yet begun with the Business Program. Now in the planning phase, a community bank will be established as soon as feasible, followed by market studies and investment in an anchor business to provide additional capital.

Community Bank : No
Community Bank Members : N/A
Economic Activities : unskilled labor
Existing microenterprises : 3 small grocery stores

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in La Mata 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 toilets : 88%
Homes with latrines : 100%
Homes with bath/shower : N/A
Common house materials : concrete blocks