Los Potrerillos

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


Los Potrerillos is located in northern Nicaragua in the department of Jinotega. A typical house is made of wood. The community has access to a local health center 9 kilometers away from the community as well as a multigrade primary school. 40 students attend the primary school with 2 teachers and 2 classrooms. The primary school goes up to grade six, and there is no secondary school located in Los Potrerillos. Most people in the community work in agriculture.

In their communication with Global Brigades, the top three needs expressed were access to electricity and health care. Los Potrerillos is on the waitlist for continuing Holistic Model implementation as part of Global Brigades’ strategic plan in Nicaragua.

Municipality: San Rafael del Norte

Department: Jinotega

Homes : 90
Population : 612
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : No
Electricity : No
Health Center : No
Community Health Workers : Yes
% of Homes with Latrines : 91%
Education : Up to 6th Grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 22 km


Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete


Healthcare access in Nicaragua is structured by the Ministry of Health, based in the capital, Managua. From there, each of the fifteen departments has its 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 centre (Centro de Salud) for every municipality within the department. While they are not hospitals, health centres in the municipality are typically staffed with one doctor, and two nurses, that can attend to 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 centre. These health centres are usually staffed with only one nurse and a rotating physician. Physicians are staffed in these health centres 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 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.  

Los Potrerillos has access to a health centre 9 kilometres away from their community. Even with this access, it is important to note that medications, supplies, and materials are often not available in these health centres 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 three illnesses in children that Los Potrerillos expressed were diarrhoeal diseases, respiratory infections, and poor nutrition. For adults, common illnesses are chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. 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.




Patient Consultations


Pap Smears Performed


Health Education Workshops


Los Potrerillos has 1 Community Health Worker that is trained by the Ministry of Health. 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 established a partnership with Los Potrerillos 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.


Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete


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.


Patients Consultations


Flouride Treatments


Fillings Performed


Dental Education Workshops


Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Los Poterillos 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
Type of Water System : Waterhole
% of Homes with Access to Water : 13%
Water Council : Yes


Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete


The majority of the communityś population are agricultural labourers, working in agriculture as well as dairy ventures and small shops. As a result, the opportunities for employment and sources of income are seasonal and dependent on the conditions of the season, with drought and plant diseases consistently presenting a threat.


Loan Disbursed


The Business Program works to stimulate the local economy by organizing community volunteers around a community bank, which is entirely owned and operated by its members. Focusing on providing access to credit and savings for their fellow community members, its Bank Council members are tasked with socializing 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 are especially beneficial for subsistence farmers, who can invest more heavily in their production with a loan, pay back the loan after the harvest, and generate an income with any excess.

Los Potrerillos community bank was established in partnership with Global Brigades in March 2021, with 11 initial members. Currently, it has 16 members, and an Executive Committee made up of a president, treasurer, and secretary, who are tasked with leading meetings and keeping records. The members make deposits into their savings accounts, contribute capital for loans, and receive training on financial planning and management from Global Brigades Business Technicians.

Community Bank : Yes
Community Bank Members : 25
Economic Activities : agriculture
Existing Microenterprises : Kiosks

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Los Potrerillos 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.

% of Homes with Latrines : 915
% of Homes with Showers : 27%
% of Homes with Water storage : 5%
Common House Materials : wood

Local Reference Points

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

  • Feature