Potrerillos

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

Overview

Potrerillos is located in the mountainous region of central Nicaragua in the department of Esteli. A typical house is made of mud brick. The community has access to a health center in their own community. Within Potrerillos, there is a multigrade primary school. 60 students attend the primary school with three teachers and two classrooms. The primary school goes up to grade 6, and if students decide to attend secondary school, they must travel to Santa Teresa. Most people in the community work as agricultural laborers.

Global Brigades is currently working with the Medical Program in Potrerillos and has been since the first Medical Brigade in May 2016. In their communication with Global Brigades, the top three needs expressed were lack of latrines or properly functioning latrines, limited access to potable water, and the desire to have a health center within their own community.  Potrerillos is on the waitlist for continuing Holistic Model implementation as part of Global Brigades’ strategic plan in Nicaragua.

Municipality: Condega

Department: Esteli

Homes : 150
Population : 850
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 : 1.5 hr

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Potrerillos health center. This facility lacks permanent staff, and at times has been abandoned. Currently a health care provider from a neighboring community provides care once a week.

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.  

Potrerillos has a health center within their community. However, there are no permanent staff in this facility. At times the Potrerillos health center has been abandoned, however now there is a health care provider from Santa Teresa who travels to Potrerillos once a week to provide care in their health center. Outside of this day, community members need to travel to Santa Teresa, 5km away, for health care. 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 three illnesses in children that Potrerillos expressed were diarrheal diseases, respiratory infections, and fevers. For adults, common illnesses are chronic diseases such as hypertension, as well as epilepsy and pneumonia. 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.

107

Volunteers

2336

Patient Consultations

134

Pap Smears Performed

56

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER:

Potrerillos has seven 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 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.

BRIGADE INFORMATION:

Community members from Potrerillos attend Medical Brigades in the abandoned community health center of Potrerillos. This location has rooms for triage, consultation, dentistry and pharmacy stations. The average amount of patients seen per day is 284 patients.

Potrerillos offers strong support on Medical Brigades from the community volunteers. One way the 8-15 community volunteers assist is by running intake. Intake is the very first station of the clinic and is where the community volunteers write down 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 the 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. Potrerillos’s community volunteers are essential to the efficiency and effectiveness of Medical Brigades.

AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED PER DAY: 284

NEARBY COMMUNITIES: LINDA VISTA, PENCAL, TIERRAS BLANCAS, ALGDONAL, JESUS MARIA, EL BARRO

BRIGADE SITE: HEALTH CENTER

 

MEDICAL & DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Kutztown University/ Caldwell University Medical Brigade January 2017 39 Florida Gulf Coast University Medical Brigade May 2017 35
Northeastern University Medical Brigade March 2018 33

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.

345

Patient Consultations

417

Flouride Treatments

236

Fillings Performed

9

Dental Education Workshops

Dental Station

BRIGADE INFORMATION:

Working closely with the Medical Program, the Dental Program provides fillings, extractions, and fluoride treatments as a standard part of medical brigades. Community members from Potrerillos attend Dental Brigades in the abandoned community health center of Potrerillos. The average amount of patients seen per day is 37 patients, with approximately 10-15 minutes per patient.

Potrerillos offers strong support on Dental Brigades from the community volunteers. One way the 8-15 community volunteers assist is by running intake. Intake is the very first station of the clinic and is where the community volunteers write down 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 the 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. Potrerillos’s community volunteers are essential the efficiency and effectiveness of Dental Brigades.

AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED PER DAY: 37

NEARBY COMMUNITIES: LINDA VISTA, PENCAL, TIERRAS BLANCAS, ALGDONAL, JESUS MARIA, EL BARRO

BRIGADE SITE: HEALTH CENTER

MEDICAL & DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN THE COMMUNITY:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Kutztown University/ Caldwell University Medical Brigade January 2017 39 Florida Gulf Coast University Medical Brigade May 2017 35
Northeastern University Medical Brigade March 2018 33

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Currently, Potrerillos has a gravity-based water system with in-home connections to 90% of the homes. The system was constructed in the 1980’s, and the age of the system is affecting its ability to supply the community. At times Potrerillos only receives water every two days, for one hour at a time. This issues is especially prevalent in the dry season (November-May). Potrerillos has reached out to the local government, asking for financial support in making repairs to their water system, however the government will only make small repairs. The government is open to making larger investments, under the condition that Potrerillos solidifies other outside funding partnerships. 

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Potrerillos 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 : Gravity-based with in-home connection
% of Homes with Access to Water : 90%
Water Council : Yes

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Potrerillos has a cooperative for savings and credit. The cooperative was established in 2014, and currently has 24 members. 

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Potrerillos 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, build upon the existing community bank, and identify micro-enterprises that can benefit from on-brigade consultations.

Community Bank : Yes
Community Bank Members : 24
Economic Activities : Agricultural labor
Existing Microenterprises : N/A

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in 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 : 70%
% of Homes with Showers : 0%
% of Homes with Washing Station : 20%
Common House Materials : Mud brick

Local Reference Points

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

  • Feature