Portuchada

Overview

Portuchada is located in the province of Darién, in the eastern part of Panama. A typical house in this community is made of zinc sheets. Portuchada has a school that offers kindergarten to 9th grade. Most of the community members work in agriculture (farming rice, corn, and root vegetables), tending livestock, and unskilled manual labor. There is no health outpost in the community, so they must travel to the nearest larger town for healthcare. Portuchada has a gravity aqueduct that functions well. The top needs expressed by the community were improvements to healthcare access, education, and security.

District: Pinogana
Province: Darién

*the above image of a farm in East Panama does not necessarily reflect the appearance of Portuchada

Homes : 200
Population : 700
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : No
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No
Community Health Workers : No
Homes with Latrines : N/A
Education in the Community : Up to 9th grade
Distance from lodging facility : 30 minutes

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.

Portuchada 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 Metetí. The most common illnesses seen within the community of Portuchada are diarrhea, vomiting, and the common cold.

337

Volunteers

3,860

Medical Patient Consultations

29

Health Education Workshops

N/A

Vision Screenings

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS:

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2019

The community of Portuchada 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. Portuchada 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 Portuchada’s 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 3 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 401

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN PORTUCHADA

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Colorado Boulder Medical Brigade March 2012 47 Mayo Medical School Medical Brigade July 2012 41
Grinnell College Medical Brigade March 2013 31 University of Oxford & University of Washington Medical Brigade August 2013 42
University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Brigade March 2014 33 Dalhousie University Medical Brigade August 2014 22
Indiana University Medical Brigade May 2015 23 Texas Tech University Medical May 2016 32
Rutgers University – New Brunswick Medical Brigade May 2017 16 University of Texas Dallas Medical Brigade May 2019 24

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS

A dental charla in Ipeti Emberá, Panama

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.

548

Dental Patient Consultations

332

Fluoride Treatments

170

Extractions

1

Fillings Performed

BRIGADE INFORMATION

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

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Portuchada’s 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 3 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 401

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN PORTUCHADA

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Colorado Boulder Medical Brigade March 2012 47 Mayo Medical School Medical Brigade July 2012 41
Grinnell College Medical Brigade March 2013 31 University of Oxford & University of Washington Medical Brigade August 2013 42
University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Brigade March 2014 33 Dalhousie University Medical Brigade August 2014 22
Indiana University Medical Brigade May 2015 23 Texas Tech University Medical May 2016 32
Rutgers University – New Brunswick Medical Brigade May 2017 16 University of Texas Dallas Medical Brigade May 2019 24

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Portuchada 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 Portuchada 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 : agriculture
Existing microenterprises : Grocery, sewing and chicken breeding

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Portuchada 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 flushing toilets : N/A
Homes with latrines : 100%
Homes with bath/shower : N/A
Common house materials : wood, concrete, zinc

Local Reference Points

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

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