Las Lajas

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

Overview

Las Lajas is located in the province of West Panama. A typical house in this community is made of cement blocks. Las Lajas has a school that offers kindergarten to 6th grade. Most of the community members work in agriculture or in businesses in the nearby larger towns. Las Lajas does not have a clinic in the community, and the closest health center is in the town of Chame. Las Lajas has a gravity aqueduct that functions well, but community members must still purify water in their homes. The top needs expressed by the community were improvements to the water system, the school, and security.

District: Chame
Province: West Panama

Homes : N/A
Population : 1500
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : No
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No
Community Health Workers : No
Homes with Improved Sanitation : 100%
Education : Up to 6th grade
Distance from Panama City : 1 hr

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.

Las Lajas 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 Chame. The most prevalent illnesses in Las Lajas are: Cold, diarrhea, renal disease.

202

Volunteers

1,845

Patient Consultations

45

Vision Screenings Provided

63

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2019

The community of Las Lajas 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. El Jobo 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

A brigader shadows a patient consultation in El Jobo, West Panama.

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Las Lajas’ 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 11 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 421

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN LAS LAJAS

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of Oklahoma Medical May 2015 44 New Jersey Institute of Technology Medical March 2016 35
Southwestern Oklahoma State University Medical May 2017 24 Albion College Medical Dec 2018 22
University of Oklahoma Medical May 2019 40 Saint Louis University Medical Jan 2020 37

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS

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.

721

Dental Patient Consultations

139

Extractions

587

Fluoride Treatments

30

Fillings Performed

BRIGADE INFORMATION

A brigader shadows a patient consultation in El Jobo, West Panama.

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Las Lajas’ 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 11 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 421

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN LAS LAJAS

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of Oklahoma Medical May 2015 44 New Jersey Institute of Technology Medical March 2016 35
Southwestern Oklahoma State University Medical May 2017 24 Albion College Medical Dec 2018 22
University of Oklahoma Medical May 2019 40 Saint Louis University Medical Jan 2020 37

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Las Lajas 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 : N/A

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Las Lajas 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 : skilled & unskilled labor in nearby towns
Existing Microenterprises : 4 small businesses, restaurants

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Las Lajas 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 : N/A
Homes with flushing toilets : N/A
Homes with baths/showers : N/A
Common house materials : concrete blocks

Local Reference Points

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

  • Feature