Piedras Gordas

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

Overview

Piedras Gordas is located in the province of Coclé, in the western part of Panama. The typical house is made of cement blocks or straw. Piedras Gordas has a school that offers kindergarten to 9th grade. Most of the community members work in crafting artisan goods or in agriculture, farming coffee, fruits and tending livestock. There is a health outpost in the community. Piedras Gordas has a gravity-fed aqueduct. The top need expressed by the community was improvements to healthcare.

District: Penonome
Province: Coclé

Homes : 200
Population : 1000
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : No
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No
Community Health Workers : No
Homes with Latrines : N/A
Education : Up to 9th grade
Distance from Panama City : 3 hrs

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.

Piedras Gordas has a Puesto de Salud in the community, and the nearest Centro de Salud is a short bus ride away in La Pintada or Penonome.

177

Volunteers

1,285

Patient Consultations

67

Vision Screenings Provided

69

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2019

The community of Piedras Gordas 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. Piedras Gordas 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

Piedras Gordas school where Medical/Dental Brigades are hosted

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 20 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 452

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN PIEDRAS GORDAS

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Medical Brigade March 2016 33 Marquette University Medical Brigade January 2019 44
St. John’s University Medical Brigade June 2019 72 University of Dayton Medical Jan 2020 28

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.

573

Dental Patient Consultations

216

Extractions

51

Fillings Performed

228

Fluoride Treatments

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Piedras Gordas school where Medical/Dental Brigades are hosted

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 20 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 452

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN PIEDRAS GORDAS

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Medical Brigade March 2016 33 Marquette University Medical Brigade January 2019 44
St. John’s University Medical Brigade June 2019 72 University of Dayton Medical Jan 2020 28

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Piedras Gordas 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 : Yes

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Piedras Gordas 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 : Livestock, artisan crafts
Existing microenterprises : several small stores

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

PIEDRAS GORDAS’ PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGE

A community member in Piedras Gordas with his new latrine, 2016

Many community members in Piedras Gordas lack the resources to make improvements to their household infrastructure. Sanitation units (which include a latrine, shower, and sink) are necessary to facilitate hand-washing and offer privacy while bathing. Additionally, latrines improve hygiene practices and prevent contamination of natural water sources caused by open defecation. 

N/A

Volunteers

6

Sanitation Units Installed

24+

People Benefitted with PH Infrastructure

N/A

Hours of Public Health Educational Workshops

PIEDRAS GORDAS’ PUBLIC HEALTH SOLUTION

Brigaders & GB staff with a family who received a sanitation unit, Piedras Gordas 2016

Global Brigades worked in 2016 with Piedras Gordas and our partner organization, Sustainable Harvest, to implement the Public Health program with families interested in installing household infrastructure projects. These projects allow community members to avoid preventable disease and foster improved hygiene and sanitation practices. During their time in Piedras Gordas, Public Health volunteers will conduct educational workshops, or charlas, with community members on project maintenance and various public health topics.

PUBLIC HEALTH VOLUNTEERS IN PIEDRAS GORDAS

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
Saint Louis University Medical Jan 2016 N/A Harvard University Medical Jan 2016 N/A
Yale & New York University Medical March 2016 N/A University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Medical March 2016 N/A
Ball State University & University of Texas Dallas May 2016 N/A Southwestern Oklahoma State University Medical May 2016 N/A
University of Texas San Antonio Medical May 2016 N/A Brown University & Longwood Area Medical May 2016 N/A

Local Reference Points

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

  • Feature