Los Encuentros de San Gabriel

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

Overview

Los Encuentros de San Gabriel is located in the mountainous region of central Nicaragua, in the department of Jinotega. A typical house is made of cement block and wood. The community has access to a health center 3 km away and a multigrade primary school. The primary school has six teachers and seven classrooms. The primary school goes up to grade six, and there is no secondary school located in Los Encuentros de San Gabriel. Most people in the community work as agricultural laborers.

Global Brigades is currently working with the Business Program in Los Encuentros, after having partnered in the past for Medical, Dental, and Public Health programming. Before the Public Health program was implemented in Los Encuentros de San Gabriel, the top needs expressed were a lack of latrines or properly functioning latrines, and limited access to potable water. Los Encuentros 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 : 165
Population : 630
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : No
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : Yes
Community Health Workers : Yes
% of Homes with Latrines : 70%
Education : Up to 6th Grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 1 hr

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.  

Los Encuentros de San Gabriel has access to a health center 3km 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 Los Encuentros de San Gabriel expressed were parasites and diarrhea, respiratory infections, and allergic reactions on skin. For adults, common illnesses are chronic diseases such as hypertension, respiratory infections, and allergic reactions on skin. 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.

271

Brigade Volunteers

5315

Patient Consultations

45

Pap Smears Performed

35

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER:

Los Encuentros de San Gabriel has three 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 Los Encuentros de San Gabriel 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:

Medical Brigades in Los Encuentros de San Gabriel will be in the community church.  This location has one large room and backyard for triage, consultation, dentistry and pharmacy stations. The average amount of patients seen per day is 242 patients per day.

Los Encuentros de San Gabriel offers strong support on Medical Brigades from the community volunteers. One way the Los Encuentros de San Gabriel Community Health Workers, who serve as volunteers in the mobile clinic, assist is by running intake. Intake is the very first station of the clinic and is where the community volunteers write 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 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. Los Encuentros de San Gabriel community volunteers are essential the efficiency and effectiveness of Medical Brigades.

AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED PER DAY: 242

NEARBY COMMUNITIES: TOMATOYA, SASLE, LAS CURENAS, SARAGUASCA, CHAGUITE GRANDE, MESA DEL OCTE, SAN GABRIEL

BRIGADE SITE: COMMUNITY CHURCH

MEDICAL BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
CUNY Queens College January 2013 23 Vanderbilt University March 2013 38
Pennsylvania State March 2014 45 Marquette University January 2015 35
Rice University March 2015 35 University of Miami January 2016 33
Oklahoma State May 2016 47 University of Connecticut January 2018 25

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.

229

Patients Consultations

370

Flouride Treatments

87

Fillings Performed

57

Dental Education Workshops

BRIGADE INFORMATION:

Dental Brigades use the community church as their brigade site. The community church is suitable for brigades and running mobile clinics. Dental Brigades use space in the large one room of the community church. Dentists send an average of 15 minutes with each patient and we are able to provide 4-5 educational workshops a day. Each brigade sees an average of 29 patients per day.

Los Encuentros de San Gabriel offers strong support on Dental Brigades from the community volunteers. One way the community volunteers, assist is by running intake. Intake is the very first station of the clinic and is where the community volunteers write 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 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. Los Encuentros de San Gabriel’s  community volunteers are essential the efficiency and effectiveness of Dental Brigades.

AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 29

NEARBY COMMUNITIES: TOMATOYA, SASLE, LAS CURENAS, SARAGUASCA, CHAGUITE GRANDE, MESA DEL OCTE, SAN GABRIEL

BRIGADE SITE: COMMUNITY CHURCH

DENTAL BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Miami January 2016 33 Oklahoma State May 2016 47
University of Connecticut January 2018 25

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

LOS ENCUENTROS DE SAN GABRIEL WATER CHALLENGE:

A water system has not been identified as a need within Los Encuentros de San Gabriel. Upon completing Global Brigade’s Rapid Needs Assessment, it was noted that their current water system was built recently, in 2006, and reaches 90% of the homes. While the scope of this system is quite comprehensive, there have still been issues during the dry season when water is available only for 3 hours, 4 days a week. Because of this, often times the community still uses the river contaminated with agricultural chemicals.  The average monthly water bill in this community is $ 84 Cordoba, approximately $2.80 USD. 

Additionally, Los Encuentros de San Gabriel has a water council, known as CAPS (Comité de Agua Potable y Sanitación/ Water and Sanitation Committee). In the interest of sustainability, the seven members of the CAPS had already been trained on water treatment and system maintenance, administration, and operation, so they can continue adequately managing the water system. Los Encuentros de San Gabriel has also established a monthly water fee in order to pay the CAPS for water treatment, maintenance costs, and system sustainability.

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

LOS ENCUENTROS DE SAN GABRIEL BUSINESS CHALLENGE:

Prior to Global Brigades involvement, Los Encuentros de San Gabriel did not have access to any cooperative or community bank. Community members lacked access to financial resources within the community. The majority of community members did not have bank accounts and there were only limited informal forms of credit available. Larger financial institutions did not approve loans to community members without a fixed income, making it difficult for local micro-enterprises to grow and thrive.

For occupation, 32%  of the population work as laborers. Of this, 70% of laborers work in agriculture. The most common crops cultivated are corn, beans, and coffee. Ability to harvest these products has been significantly impacted by drought. The opportunities for employment and sources of income are seasonal and dependent on the agricultural conditions of the season. A large constraint on farmers is land rights. Only 15% own the land they farm, 3% rent land to farm, while others are hired by producers to care for their farms. Other professions in the community are teachers, drivers, carpenters, and secretaries.

The opportunities for employment and sources of income are seasonal and dependent on the agricultural conditions of the season. Additionally, some work is only available irregularly day to day. 55% of agricultural laborers are paid by day $150 Cordoba (equivalent to $5 USD), but do not have the guarantee of further work. For many families, this is the sole or main source of income for the household, since 94% of women are primarily engaged with housework. 3% of women work as agricultural laborers, 1% work by selling clothing or items in a convenient store, and 2% are considered skilled laborers with positions such as a teacher, secretary, or cashier. The average income for families by month is $5,000 Cordoba, equivalent to $166 USD.

LOS ENCUENTROS DE SAN GABRIEL MICROFINANCE SOLUTION:

Nowadays, the community bank has the main activity of promoting savings, loans and financial literacy. The name of the community bank is Flor de mi Tierra and Global Brigades started working with the bank in August of 2017. Global Brigades has had several follow-ups with the bank since our partnership has started with them and has hosted a community bank leadership council training.

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

LOS ENCUENTROS DE SAN GABRIEL PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGE:

Prior to Public Health Brigades, Los Encuentros de San Gabriel faced numerous public health challenges with limited infrastructure in their homes. Previously only 10% of homes have concrete floors as opposed to mud or dirt floors. For showers, 21% had constructed their own showers out of plastic, sheets, or metal sheet for privacy when showering. However, the majority (68%) bathed in the river. Lastly, 7% chose to bathe inside or out of their home with a bucket and not other infrastructure. Many individuals noted feeling insecure about going to the river to bathe or being in public while bathing.

Furthermore, 100% of homes had traditional stoves, which meant that the majority of homes have an over accumulation of smoke. For latrines, the majority of Los Encuentros de San Gabriel, 56%, had a traditional latrine, however of this 10% were full or non functioning. 9% used a latrine that was designed by an NGO to be an organic, composting latrine, however the community was not properly instructed how to maintain the eco-latine and did not have sufficient methods of waste disposal. Lastly, 22% resulted to asking a neighbor to use their latrine, and 10% used open defecation.

The river is often time contaminated with waste and agricultural chemicals/fertilizers. Individuals could be particularly at risk not only when bathing, but also when washing clothing, considering prior to Public Health projects 81% of the population washed clothes on a rock in the river. Additionally, while the other 19% had a washing unit, they still washed clothes in the river since they did not have a water storage as a part of their washing unit.

 

1385

Brigade Volunteers

143

Sanitary Stations Constructed

24

Eco-Stoves Constructed

3366

Meters Squared of Concrete Floors

LOS ENCUENTROS DE SAN GABRIEL PUBLIC HEALTH SOLUTION:

With the community having large public health needs, each family was given the opportunity to receive a sanitary station (latrine, water storage tank and shower), and concrete floors. The number of projects each family received depended on what the family desired and what they could afford. As part of our development plan, families are required to financially contribute to 10-33% of the cost of the projects to encourage ownership and buy-in. For a sanitary unit this equals approximately $67 USD, eco-stoves $40 USD, and for concrete floors, $1.5 USD per square meter.

To ensure the sustainability of the in-home infrastructure projects, the Public Health Program provides continuous follow-up in the community. It also partners with the Basic Sanitation Committee, a community body formed by local leaders which monitors the correct usage and maintenance of the new infrastructure. Clear responsibilities and powers are assigned to each member, making the beneficiaries themselves an even stronger stakeholder in the Public Health projects.

PUBLIC HEALTH BRIGADES IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
DePaul University December 2016 23 University of California-Los Angeles December 2016 21
Oakland University December 2016 31 University of Miami December 2016 34
University of Toledo January 2017 39 University of Wisconsin-Madison/Ball State University January 2017 24
Governors State University January 2017 19 University of Dayton January 2017 66
Southern Connecticut State University January 2017 15 Virginia Tech January 2017 38
Wellesley College/CEFEP Champlain St. Lawrence January 2017 33 Carroll University January 2017 25
Columbia University/Texas A&M University January 2016 21 SUNY Binghamton January 2017 41
University of Wisconsin-Madison January 2017 32 Albion College January 2017 26
Marquette University January 2017 77 Kutztown University/Caldwell University January 2017 38
Smith College January 2017 24 Milwaukee School of Engineering February 2017 12
Milwaukee School of Engineering March 2017 21 West Virginia University March 2017 15
Central Michigan University/ Pennsylvania State March 2017 26 West Virginia University March 2017 53
College of William & Mary March 2017 35 Vanderbilt University March 2017 23
Central Michigan University March 2017 43 Carnegie Mellon University March 2017 16
Marquette University March 2017 28 Carnegie Mellon University March 2017 24
Indiana University/ University of Arizona March 2017 19 University of Notre Dame March 2017 30
Carnegie Mellon University/ University of Arizona March 2017 19 Rutgers University March 2017 33
New Jersey Institute of Technology March 2017 24 Indiana University/ Rutgers University March 2017 17
University of Maryland Baltimore County March 2017 10 University of Maryland Baltimore County/ Northwestern University March 2017 19
RWTH Aachen University/ Munster University March 2017 16 Tulane University March 2017 25
Athletico Professional Brigade April 2017 23 Wright State University May 2017 24
Oakland University May 2017 24 University of Cincinatti May 2017 11
University of South Florida May 2017 25 Florida Atlantic University May 2017 43
Emory University May 2017 20 Ferris State University May 2017 12
University of Miami May 2017 15 Middle Tennessee State University May 2017 24
Otterbein University May 2017 21 Colorado State University May 2017 13
University of Kansas May 2017 14

Local Reference Points

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

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