Santa Librada

Overview

Santa Librada is located within the Darién province, 25 kilometers past Metetí and 26 kilometers before Yaviza, the end of the Pan-American Highway. Santa Librada is home to about 800 people and is primarily a Latino community. 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 Santa Librada are primarily dedicated to agriculture and must travel roughly 45 minutes to reach the next main town of Meteti where larger businesses and health services are available.

Corregimiento: Yaviza
District: Pinogana

*The above image of a farm in East Panama does not necessarily reflect the appearance of Santa Librada

Homes : 161
Population : 800
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No, closest is in Meteti
Community Health Workers : Yes
Homes with Latrines : 90%
Education in the Community : Up to 9th grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 1.5 hours

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.

Santa Librada has no health facilities. The nearest Puesto de Salud is in Canglón, a neighboring community.  The nearest Centro de Salud is about 45 minutes away in Metetí. The most commonly seen illnesses in Santa Librada are diarrhea, common cold, fever, and headaches.

305

Volunteers

3,169

Patient Consultations

70

Vision Screenings

20

Health Education Workshops (Approx.)

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS:

A group of CHWs in East Panama, trained in 2017

Santa Librada has 3 Community Health Workers that have received training from 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.

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Santa Librada’s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 4 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 366

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN SANTA LIBRADA:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Portland State University & Marianopolis College June 2012 41 College of William and Mary Medical March 2013 37
Hillsborough Community College & Miami Dade College August 2013 29 Southwestern Oklahoma State Univeristy March 2014 19
Loyola University Chicago January 2015 26 CUNY Brooklyn College June 2015 26
East Carolina University January 2016 31 Southern Methodist University & Kings University of London August 2016 34
UNC Chapel Hill March 2017 23 Indiana University & University of South Florida Medical May 2019 31

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.

561

Dental Patient Consultations

268

Fluoride Treatments

35

Fillings Performed

238

Extractions

A dental charla in Ipeti Emberá, Panama

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Santa Librada’s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 4 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 366

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN SANTA LIBRADA:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Portland State University & Marianopolis College June 2012 41 College of William and Mary Medical March 2013 37
Hillsborough Community College & Miami Dade College August 2013 29 Southwestern Oklahoma State Univeristy March 2014 19
Loyola University Chicago January 2015 26 CUNY Brooklyn College June 2015 26
East Carolina University January 2016 31 Southern Methodist University & Kings University of London August 2016 34
UNC Chapel Hill March 2017 23 Indiana University & University of South Florida Medical May 2019 31

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Santa Librada but has not yet begun with the Water Program. If there is a need, the Water Program will begin implementing a new water system or any necessary repairs to existing infrastructure 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

SANTA LIBRADA’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Community members in Santa Librada lack access to financial resources within the community. The majority of community members do not have bank accounts and there are only limited informal forms of credit available.  For example, a person could obtain ‘credit’ at a local store by buying something now and paying later, simply adding it to their ‘tab,’ but there would be no formalized credit transaction.  Larger financial institutions do not approve loans to community members without a fixed income, making it difficult for local micro-enterprises to grow and thrive. Most community members cite the distance to the nearest bank as the main discouragement to having a personal savings account. Even if individuals wish to travel the distance, not all community members can become members of these financial institutions–cooperatives require monthly membership fees, savings accounts often require a fixed income, and the cost of travel provides an additional barrier.

42

Volunteers

110

Loans Disbursed

$3,389

Capital Invested

20

Saving Accounts Opened

SANTA LIBRADA’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

Members of the Santa Librada community bank

The Global Brigades Business and Microfinance Team trained a new Community Bank in Santa Librada in 2016.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.

SANTA LIBRADA’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 SANTA LIBRADA:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Louisiana State University May 2017 16 London School of Economics & University of California San Diego Business June 2019

26

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Santa Librada 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 : 25%
Homes with latrines : 90%
Homes with baths/showers : N/A
Common house materials : concrete blocks, wood

Local Reference Points

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

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