Santa Marta – Global Brigades

Santa Marta

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

Overview

Santa Marta is located in the province of Coclé, west of Panama City. The community is comprised of mostly Latino families. A typical house there is made of concrete blocks. Santa Marta has a primary school that offers from kindergarten to 6th grade. Most of the community members work in agriculture or unskilled labor. There is a small health post in the community which is sometimes attended by a health assistant. The nearest health center is in the community of El Cope, which means community members must wait for a bus and pay each way to visit a doctor. All of the homes in Santa Marta are connected to a gravity-fed aqueduct, but the water must be rationed sometimes in the dry season. 100% of homes in the community have sanitation services (either pit latrines or flushing toilets). Santa Marta does not have a community bank that offers savings and loans services. The top needs expressed by the community were: electricity, easier access to secondary education, and improved sanitation services.

District: La Pintada
Province: Coclé

Homes : 180
Population : 800
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : No
Electricity : No
Health Center : No- closest in Cope
Community Health Workers : Yes, non-GB
Homes with sanitation service : 100%
Education : Up to 6th grade
Closest GB lodging facility : La Iguana

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 Marta has a Puesto de Salud in the community, and the nearest Centro de Salud is 8 km away in the town of Cope. The most prevalent illnesses in Santa Marta are fevers, common colds, diarrhea, hypertension, and diabetes.

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2019

The community of Santa Marta does not yet have Community Health Workers trained by Global Brigades. Global Brigades Panama Medical Program is working diligently to train volunteers as CHWs in its partner communities as part of the Holistic Model. Santa Marta 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.

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS

A dental charla in Ipeti Emberá, Panama

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.

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Santa Marta but has not yet begun with the Water Program. If there is a need, 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 Santa Marta 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 Activites : Agriculture, artisan crafts
Existing Microenterprises : N/A

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Santa Marta but has not yet begun with the Public Health Program. If there is a need, the financing, delivery, and installation of sanitation units will start as soon as feasible.

Homes with flushing toilets : 6%
Homes with latrines : 94%
Homes with bath/shower : 100%
Common house materials : concrete blocks

Local Reference Points

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

  • Feature