Empowered Community

Congratulations Piriati Embera!

734

Volunteers

3,846

Medical Patient Consultations

641

Dental Patient Consultations

N/A

People with Access to Clean Water*

322

Loans Disbursed

N/A

Latrines Constructed*

5

Legal Cases Resolved

2

Trained Community Leaders

Piriati Embera

Overview

Piriati Embera is located in the biodiverse province of East Panama, and celebrated its transition with Global Brigades in December of 2016. Community members have access to credit through an established and thriving Community Bank which will support continued investment in local businesses and home improvement projects for families within the community. People in Piriati Embera are primarily dedicated to agriculture and the sale of artisanal crafts. There are a number of local businesses within the community such as storefronts selling household goods and foods as well as a group of artisans that produce traditional Embera jewelry for sale. Through Global Brigades an environmental committee was established to cultivate a model farm and a Community Health Worker was trained to provide healthcare support and trainings for community members.

Corregimiento: Torti
District: Chepo

*Piriati Emberá already had sanitation and water coverage when Global Brigades began their partnership with the community.

Homes : 87
Population : 497
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No, closest in Torti
Community Health Workers : Yes
% of Homes with Latrines : 95
Education in the Community : Up to 9th grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 30 minutes

CELEBRATING PIRIATI EMBERA’S FIVE – YEAR MILESTONE

On January 8th, 2017, Global Brigades and Piriati Embera celebrated all the hard work that has gone into the last five years and what community members have to look forward to as these programs perpetuate. The event was the conclusion of a series of three open meetings to reflect on all of the different projects have taken shape within the community and to provide information to the community as a whole about getting involved and supporting continued operations such as the Community Health Workers or joining the Community Bank. The event was attended by community committee leaders such as the Community Bank executive board, regional Embera government officials, and Global Brigades staff that have participated in the five-year process. Additionally, Columbia University Medical Brigades and Miami University of Ohio Business Brigades shared words with the community about what it meant to be welcomed into their community and participate in local projects.

This day marked the end of regular brigades of volunteers to the community, but work has not stopped. Since this celebration, Piriati Embera’s Community Bank finished construction of a new office building for its committee and members to meet and hold operations.

First Community Meeting, October 13th, 2016

Presentations included stories from Community Bank leaders from when the bank was first created.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transition Plan Presentations, November 2016

Program Leads such as Jessica Nuñez of the Medical Program, hold situational presentations to depict ways to get involved with programs such as seeing Piriati Embera’s Community Health Worker.

 

 

 

Final Celebration, January 8th 2017

Young students from the community prepare for a traditional Embera dance as part of the celebration.

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.

The community of Piriati Embera currently has a Puesto de Salud, and the nearest Centro de Salud is 25 minutes away by bus in the town of Tortí. The most common illnesses reported by community members in Piriati Emberá are: cold, diarrhea, parasites, fungus and skin infections.

334

Volunteers

3,846

Patient Consultations

60

Vision Screenings

69

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS:

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2017

Piriati Emberá has 1 Community Health Worker that was trained by Global Brigades. 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.

Piriati Emberá school

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Piriati Emberá’s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 6 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 370

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN PIRIATI EMBERÁ:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Chicago – Loyola Medical Brigade August 2012 22 Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Medical Brigade April 2013 21
Northwestern University Medical Brigade September 2013 17 University of Victoria Medical Brigade February 2014 32
Drexel University Medical Brigade June 2014 36 University of San Diego and Smith College Medical Brigade January 2015 25
Regis University Medical Brigade August 2015 25 Carnegie Mellon University Medical Brigade August 2016 26
Columbia University Medical Brigade January 2017 24  Northwestern University/ Waterloo University Medical Brigade  August 2017  23
Tulane University Medical Brigade March 2019 26 Michigan State University Medical Brigade March 2020 21

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS

In 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 dentist within a reasonable distance.

641

Dental Patient Consultations

362

Fluoride Treatments

28

Fillings Performed

276

Extractions

A dental charla at a clinic in Ipeti Emberá, Panama

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Piriati Emberá’s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 6 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 370

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN PIRIATI EMBERA:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
 Southern Illinois University Medical Brigade April 2013  21  Northwestern University Medical Brigade  September 2013  17
University of Victoria Medical Brigade February 2014 32 Drexel University Medical Brigade June 2014 36
University of San Diego and Smith College Medical Brigade January 2015 25 Regis University Medical Brigade August 2015 25
Carnegie Mellon University Medical Brigade August 2016 26 Columbia University Medical Brigade January 2017 24
Tulane University Medical Brigade March 2019 26 Michigan State University Medical Brigade March 2020 21

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades transitioned to a monitoring role with Piriati Emberá before the Water Program was established as part of the Holistic Model in Panama. If there is a need, Global Brigades will support the community to implement any necessary repairs to existing infrastructure.

Water System : Yes
System Type : Gravity aqueduct
Homes connected to water : 150
Water Council : Yes

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

PIRIATI EMBERA’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Community members in Piriati Embera do not have access to financial resources within the community. In order to gain access, members must travel to Tortí, a 30-minute bus ride, however not all community members can become members of the savings and loan cooperative. Cooperatives require monthly membership fees, and coupled with the cost of travel and the lack of land titles as an indigenous community, less than 5% of community members are part of the cooperative, and 100% of the community has never accessed a loan from Tortí. Larger financial institutions, which are inaccessible due to distance and cost, do not approve loans to community members without a fixed income, making it very difficult for local microenterprises to grow and thrive.

343

Volunteers

56

Saving Accounts Opened

322

Loans Disbursed

$30,770

Capital Invested

PIRIATI EMBERA’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

The finished artwork for the Community Bank office with its artist, Elio Cunampio, a member of Piriati Embera

The Global Brigades Business and Microfinance Team trained a new Community Bank in 2013. They also brought Microfinance and Business brigades in order to strengthen both the knowledge and trust in the Community Bank. This encouraged the opening of more savings accounts, growth of seed capital, and upon the completion of six months of executive board training, the Community Bank began giving out loans to bank members to spur economic growth and home improvement projects.

 

In 2017 Piriati Embera’s Community Bank finished construction of its own office to continue operations and have a safe place to store records.

PIRIATI EMBERA’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

In addition to the community bank, Global Brigades supports established and start-up micro-enterprises. Agro-businesses are prominent forms of commerce within this community and adequate book-keeping and maintaining relationships with customers, as well as proper agriculture cultivation can lead to increased revenues for business owners and employees.

As members of the Community Bank these micro-enterprises, led almost entirely by women or families, contribute to savings accounts and budget for loans to expand their businesses in the future. Through the help of Business Brigades, clients get advice on their most concerning business challenges and can also receive assistance in developing sustainable agriculture practices.

 

BUSINESS VOLUNTEERS IN PIRIATI EMBERA:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Miami University of Ohio Business Brigade December 2011 23 Loyola University Duke University Business Brigade December 2012 15
Boston University Business Brigade December 2012 20 Penn State Business Brigade March 2012 20
University of Southern California & Emory University Business Brigade March 2012 44 Marquette University Business Brigade March 2012 19
UCLA / UC San Diego Business Brigade March 2012 23 Miami University Business Brigade May 2012 20
Calvin College Business Brigade May 2012 13 University of Southern California Business Brigade January 2013 23
Texas A&M University Business Brigade May 2013 22 UC Davis / UC Riverside Business Brigade June 2013 6
Carnegie Melon Business Brigade March 2014 14 Vanderbilt University Business Brigade February 2014 15
Rutgers University Business Brigade March 2015 12 Boston University Business Brigade May 2015 22
Yale University Business Brigade March 2016 19 Boston University Business Brigade May 2016 13
University of Florida Business Brigade December 2019 12

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades transitioned to a monitoring role with Piriati Emberá before the Public Health Program was established as part of the Holistic Model in Panama. If there is a need, Global Brigades will support the community with the financing, delivery, and installation of household health infrastructure products.

Homes with flushing toilets : N/A
Homes with latrines : 95%
Homes with baths/showers : N/A
Common house materials : wood, concrete blocks

Local Reference Points

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

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