Punuloso – Global Brigades

Punuloso

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

Overview

Punuloso is located in Darien, in the eastern part of Panama. The typical house is made of cement blocks or bricks. Children in the community typically attend school up until primary school. The current water system in place in community is a gravity aqueduct. Most of the community members work in land agriculture or a labor position. The top needs expressed by Punuloso were improvements to the water system and the school.

Corregimiento: Metetí
Province: Darién

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

Homes : 115
Population : 800
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : No
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No
Community Health Workers : No
Homes with Latrines : 70%
Education : Up to primary school
Distance from Panama City : 4 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.

Punuloso does not have any health facilities in the community, and the nearest Centro de Salud is a bus ride away in the town of Metetí. The most prevalent illnesses in Punuloso are the common cold, vomiting, and diarrhea.

110

Volunteers

598

Patient Consultations

22

Vision Screenings

3

Health Education Workshops

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2019

The community of Punuloso 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. Punuloso 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

Brigaders lead a craft in Punuloso as part of the children’s dental health charla

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Punuloso’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 5 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 217

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN PUNOLOSO

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of Missouri Medical May 2016 30 University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Medical March 2017 23
Middle Tennessee State University Medical/ Regis University Medical August 2018 27 Rutgers University Medical March 2019 30

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS

A Medical Brigader treats a young patient with fluoride in Yaviza, Darién

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.

292

Dental Patient Consultations

183

Fluoride Treatments

70

Extractions

7

Fillings

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Brigaders lead a craft in Punuloso as part of the children’s dental health charla

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Punuloso’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 5 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 217

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN PUNOLOSO

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
University of Missouri Medical May 2016 30 University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Medical March 2017 23
Middle Tennessee State University Medical/ Regis University Medical August 2018 27 Rutgers University Medical March 2019 30

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Punoloso but has not yet begun with the Water Program. Now in the planning phase, the Water Program will begin implementing a new water system or any necessary repairs to existing infrastructure following evaluation and recommendations by the Water team.

 

Water System : Yes
Type of System : Gravity aqueduct
Homes connected to water : 43%
Water Council : Yes

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Punoloso but has not yet begun with the Business Program. Now in the planning phase, a community bank will be established as soon as feasible, followed by market studies and investment in an anchor business to provide additional capital.

Community Bank : No
Community Bank Members : N/A
Economic activities : farming, skilled manual labor
Existing microenterprises : 1 small store

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

PUNULOSO’S SANITATION CHALLENGE

A house with a pit latrine in Embera Puru, Panama

When Global Brigades began their partnership with Punuloso, most homes had pit latrines. Pit latrines are prone to flooding in the rainy season, and in the summer months heat causes them to become a breeding ground for bacteria. Sanitation units (each with a composting latrine, shower and sink) are Global Brigades Panama’s response to this public health challenge.

25

Volunteers

1

Sanitation Units Installed

N/A

People Benefitted with PH Infrastructure

N/A

Hours of Public Health Education

PUBLIC HEALTH SOLUTION IN PUNULOSO

Brigaders pose in front of a new sanitation unit in Ipeti Embera, Panama

In 2016, Medical Brigaders in partnership with Global Brigades technicians and the Punuloso Health Committee completed a sanitation unit for the school in the community. This new latrine structure is equipped with an attached shower and a bathroom with two chambers for waste. Solid waste combined with the adding of sawdust after each use allows the latrine to become a source of compost. When solid waste and sawdust completely fill the first chamber it is sealed off and the toilet is moved to the second chamber. After 6 months of composting, the first chamber is re-opened and is ready to be used as a compost for gardens while the second chamber is used for the bathroom. Once the second chamber is filled to capacity the cycle starts over.

PUBLIC HEALTH VOLUNTEERS IN PUNOLOSO

Chapter Date Number of Volunteers Chapter Date Number of Volunteers
CUNY Macaulay Medical Aug 2016 N/A Oregon State University Public Health Sept 2016 25

Local Reference Points

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

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