San Gabriel*

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

Overview

San Gabriel is located in the mountainous region of central Nicaragua in the department of Jinotega. A typical house is made of mud brick or cement block. The community has access to a health center in the neighboring town, San Rafael del Norte, 3 Km away. San Gabriel has a multigrade primary school with two teachers and two classrooms. The primary school goes up to the age of twelve, and there is no secondary school located in San Gabriel. Most people in the community work as agricultural laborers.

In their initial communication with Global Brigades, the top three needs expressed were limited access to potable water, construction of a health center within their community, and repairs needed to homes. Since then, Global Brigades has completed the Public Health and Water Program in this community. Currently, San Gabriel is continuing the Holistic Model implementation with the Business Program, as part of Global Brigades’ strategic plan in Nicaragua.

Municipality: San Rafael del Norte
Department: Jinotega

*Brigades to this community are temporarily suspended at this time

Homes : 94
Population : 353
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No
Community Health Workers : Yes
% of Homes with Latrines : 95%
Education : Up to 6th Grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 44 km

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

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.  

San Gabriel has access to a health center in the neighboring town, San Rafael del Norte, 3 Km away. 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 illnesses in children that San Gabriel expressed are diarrhoeal diseases, parasitic infections, respiratory infections, and fevers. For adults, common illnesses are chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, as well as gastritis, and obstructive pulmonary disease. 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.

*These statistics represent brigades in the community of Los Encuentros de San Gabriel, where community members from San Gabriel attend Medical Brigades

284

Volunteers*

3,339

Patient Consultations*

N/A

Vision Screenings Provided*

18

Health Education Workshops*

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

San Gabriel has 3 Community Health Workers that are trained by the Ministry of Health every three months. 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 San Gabriel 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

Medical Brigades in San Gabriel will be in the community church in Los Encuentros de San Gabriel.  This location has one large room and backyard for triage, consultation, dentistry and pharmacy stations.

San Gabriel offers strong support on Medical Brigades from the community volunteers. One way the San Gabriel Community Health Workers, who serve as volunteers in the mobile clinic, assist is by running intake. Intake is the very first station of the clinic and is where the community volunteers write 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 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. San Gabriel community volunteers are essential the efficiency and effectiveness of Medical Brigades.

AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED PER DAY: 713
NEARBY COMMUNITIES: TOMATOYA, SASLE, LAS CURENAS, SARAGUASCA, CHAGUITE GRANDE, MESA DEL OCTE

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.

*These statistics represent brigades in the community of Los Encuentros de San Gabriel, where community members from San Gabriel attend Medical Brigades

229

Patient Consultations*

174

Number of Extractions*

87

Fillings Performed*

57

Dental Education Workshops*

DENTAL BRIGADE INFORMATION

Dental Brigades use the community church in Los Encuentros de San Gabriel as their brigade site. The community church is suitable for brigades and running mobile clinics. Dental Brigades use space in the large one room of the community church.

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

AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 713
NEARBY COMMUNITIES: TOMATOYA, SASLE, LAS CURENAS, SARAGUASCA, CHAGUITE GRANDE, MESA DEL OCTE

 

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

SAN GABRIEL’S WATER CHALLENGE

Jesus Maria Tinoco Pineda, donor of land for water system’s fresh water source

Previously, one of the only water sources of the community was a river contaminated with waste and agricultural chemicals. In the 1990’s the Municipality of San Rafael del Norte identified a good quality and quantity of mountain spring water source to build a water system off of. At the time there were no issues breaking ground on the project since the land had been fully donated by the landowner, Jesus Maria Tinoco Pineda, to the Municipality because Pineda knew the water needs that communities in the surrounding area had. Despite this promising beginning, lack of financing and a budget from the Municipality led to the project’s halt for almost 20 years.

 

411

Volunteers

921

Project Beneficiaries

16

Kilometers of Pipeline Installed

15,852

Storage Tank Volume (gallons)

SAN GABRIEL’S WATER SOLUTION

It was not until September 2016 that the project officially re-started after a partnership was formed between San Gabriel and four other communities, Global Brigades Nicaragua, the Municipality of San Rafael del Norte, and Water for People. In order to plan a water system custom-designed for the 5 communities, the land was first surveyed by the Municipality of San Rafael del Norte. From this land survey, it was determined that the best fit for these communities would be to  take water from spring source, to households by gravity. The gravity-based system has one storage tank. A concrete water catchment was constructed to collect water from the spring mountain source. From there, nine kilometers of trenches were dug with pipeline laid. The system was designed to then conduct water by gravity to the storage tank, where it would be held and treated, before flowing through sixteen kilometers of distribution pipeline to every community member’s household. The water system will supply the communities of Sabana de en medio, La Joya, Cuatro Esquinas, Mesa del Ocote and San Gabriel through the projected 20-year lifespan of the project.

In addition to construction, San Gabriel mobilized to form a CAPS (Comité de Agua Potable y Sanitación/ Water and Sanitation Committee). Over the course of eight months of construction, 816 Global Brigades volunteers worked alongside the committee and community members to construct a system that now reaches 221 families and 921 beneficiaries.  Before the project’s completion, a capacity test of the well was completed, and demonstrated an average of 46 gallons per minute.

WATER VOLUNTEERS IN SAN GABRIEL

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Governors State University Public Health Brigade January 2017 19 Milwaukee School of Engineering Water Brigade February 2017 21
Milwaukee School of Engineering Medical brigade February 2017 47 Michigan State University Medical Brigade March 2017 44
Central Michigan University Medical Brigade March 2017 44 New Jersey Institute of Technology Medical Brigade March 2017 22
Indiana University Public Health Brigade March 2017 8 Rutgers University Medical Brigade March 2017 33
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill March 2017 28 University of Arizona Public Health Brigade March 2017 11
Northwestern University Water Brigade & University of Maryland Baltimore Water Brigade March 2017 18 University of Maryland Baltimore Medical Brigade March 2017 59
California State Polytechnic University Pomona Medical Brigade March 2017 26 University of Arkansas Medical Brgade March 2017 23
University of Maryland Balimore Water Brigade March 2017 8

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

SAN GABRIEL’S BUSINESS CHALLENGE

Prior to Global Brigades involvement, San did not have access to a community bank, and commercial banks in the area were considered inaccessible. Community members lacked access to financial resources within the community. As a result, few members had a formal savings account or access to capital for loans that were manageable. 

For occupation, the majority of the population are agricultural laborers that cultivate corn, beans, and coffee. Ability to harvest these products has been significantly impacted by drought. The opportunities for employment and sources of income are seasonal and dependent on the agricultural conditions of the season.

*No volunteers have been able to support in this program’s work but continued progress has been able to be accomplished through the generous support of the Merkel Foundation.

0*

Volunteers

34

Loans Disbursed

22

Savings Accounts Opened

$1,464

Capital Invested

SAN GABRIEL’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

In October of 2017, San Gabriel established a community bank in partnership with Global Brigades, named Mi Sueño Será (My Dream Will Come True). This Community Bank currently consists of 20 members, with a three-person executive committee tasked with managing the account and facilitating bi-weekly meetings. This Community Bank provides members with a secure location to save their money, earning interest annually. Additionally, with the assistance of matching capitalizations on the part of Global Brigades, members also gain access to loan interest micro loans to help grow businesses and cover emergency costs.

The Business Program further assists members through training on financial literacy and management, loan application, and governance, in order to ensure an engaged membership and democratic leadership.

SAN GABRIEL’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

As part of the Business Brigades Program, local staff and Business Brigade volunteers provide consultations to microenterprises and entrepreneurs within San Gabriel. Volunteers and staff work with these clients to improve financial management and accounting, inventory management, marketing strategies, and business planning.

In addition to loans that can be taken out to invest in already established businesses, Global Brigades has worked with San Gabriel to start one new cooperative business– a grocery store. This business started with a C$9,000 (approximately $300) from Global Brigades.

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

 SAN GABRIEL’S PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGE 

Prior to Public Health Brigades, San Gabriel faced numerous public health challenges with limited infrastructure in their homes. Previously only 10% of homes have concrete floors as opposed to mud or dirt floors. Furthermore, 0% of homes have access to showers. Instead, many would bathe in the river, where there is likely to be fertilizer run-off from farming. 100% of homes had traditional stoves, which meant that the majority of homes have an over accumulation of smoke. Lastly 61% of homes had functioning latrines, of which half were traditional pit latrines likely to soon fill and were harsh on the environment. Those without latrines often had to use neighbor’s bathroom, and 21% resorted to open defecation.

 

1,220

Volunteers

82

Sanitation Units Installed

347

People Benefited with Public Health Infrastructure

N/A

Hours of Public Health Education

SAN GABRIEL’S PUBLIC HEALTH SOLUTION

With the community having large public health needs, each family was given the opportunity to receive a sanitary station (toilet, water storage tank and shower), and concrete floors. Families decided which Public Health products they were interested in purchasing. As part of Global Brigades development plan, families were required to financially contribute to 10-15% of the cost of the projects to encourage ownership and buy-in.

To ensure the sustainability of the in-home infrastructure projects, the Public Health Program provides continuous follow-up in the community. It also partners with the Basic Sanitation Committee, a community body formed by local leaders which monitors the correct usage and maintenance of the new infrastructure. Clear responsibilities and powers are assigned to each member, making the beneficiaries themselves an even stronger stakeholder in the Public Health projects.

PUBLIC HEALTH VOLUNTEERS IN SAN GABRIEL 

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Maryland Baltimore Public Health Brigade & Indiana University Public Health Brigade March 2016 26 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medical Brigade & University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Medical Brigade March 2016 40
Indiana University Water Brigade & University of Arizona Water Brigade March 2016 26 West Virginia University Medical Brigade March 2016 48
Louisiana State University Medical Brigade March 2016 51 Marquette University Public Health Brigade March 2016 27
Oregon Health and Sciences University Public Health Brigade March 2016 10 West Virginia University Public Health Brigade & University of California-Irvine Public Health Brigade March 2016 29
University of Arkansas Medical Brigade & Pace University Medical Brigade March 2016 34 Northwestern University Public Health Brigade March 2016 14
University of California-Davis Medical Brigade & University of California-Irvine Medical Brigade March 2016 17 Palo Alto Brigades Medical Brigade & University of California-Davis Medical Brigade March 2016 48
University of Connecticut Medical Brigade May 2016 33 University of Missouri-Kansas City Medical Brigade & University of California-Berkeley Medical Brigade May 2016 28
University of Puget Sound Public Health Brigade & Louisiana State University Public Health Brigade May 2016 14 Case Western Reserve University Public Health Brigade May 2016 43
Rutgers University Public Health Brigade May 2016 24 Stony Brook University Medical Brigade May 2016 32
University of Houston Medical Brigade May 2016 42 University of Virginia Medical Brigade May 2016 22
University of Washington Public Health Brigade May 2016 29 Chapman University Medical Brigade May 2016 45
San Jose University Medical Brigade June 2016 30 University of Minnesota-Rochester Medical Brigade June 2016 26
CUNY Brooklyn College Medical Brigade & Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine Medical Brigade June 2016 26 California State University-Bakersfield Medical Brigade & University of California-Los Angeles Medical Brigade June 2016 41
University of California-San Diego Medical Brigade June 2016 37 University of California-Riverside Medical Brigade June 2016 43
Western Kentucky University Medical Brigade August 2016 30 Rutgers University Medical Brigade August 2016 38
Elon University Medical Brigade & North Carolina State University Medical Brigade August 2016 28 Middle Tennessee State University Medical Brigade August 2016 49
Saint Louis University Medical Brigade & University of Birmingham Medical Brigade August 2016 32 University of Munster Medical Brigade August 2016 10
University of Texas-Austin Medical Brigade August 2016 27 Rutgers University Medical Brigade August 2016 33
Northwestern University Medical Brigade & University of Waterloo Medical Brigade August 2016 28 University of Washington Medical Brigade September 2016 33
SDI Munich Medical Brigade September 2016 12

Local Reference Points

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

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