Villa Darién – Global Brigades

Villa Darién

Overview

Villa Darién, also known by the name “Anayansi,” is in the Darién province of East Panama near the town of Metetí. The community is primarily Latino, but there are a few indigenous communities nearby. A typical house in Villa Darién is made of concrete blocks or wood. People in Villa Darién are primarily dedicated to agriculture or technician work for government agencies. Community members in Villa Darién must travel to Metetí to seek medical care. When Global Brigades first started their partnership with Villa Darién in 2013,  community members expressed that their top needs were: police support, street and traffic signs, and more sidewalks.

Corregimiento: Metetí
District: Pinogana

Homes : 200
Population : 1000
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes
Health Center : No, nearest is in Metetí
Community Health Workers : Yes
Homes with Latrines : 100%
Education in the Community : Up to 6th grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 5 minutes

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.

The community of Villa Darién does not have its own health facilities. To see a doctor or dentist, community members must travel to Metetí, which is 10 minutes away by bus. The most commonly reported illnesses in Villa Darién are the common cold, diarrhea, and skin allergies.

123

Volunteers

495

Patient Consultations

N/A

Vision Screenings

N/A

Health Education Workshops (Approx.)

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS:

A group of CHWs from East Panama, trained in 2017

Villa Darién has 1 Community Health Worker that 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 Villa Darién’s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 7 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 248

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN VILLA DARIÉN:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Rutgers University May 2013 37 University of California San Diego June 2014 50
Central Michigan University March 2015 32

 

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.

N/A

Dental Patient Consultations

N/A

Fluoride Treatments

N/A

Fillings Performed

N/A

Extractions Performed

A dental charla in Ipeti Emberá, Panama

BRIGADE INFORMATION

Medical and Dental Brigade clinics are hosted in Villa Darién’s school building. The various stations of the clinic are held in the classrooms. Each day of the brigade, an average of 7 educational workshops or charlas are facilitated with the clinic’s patients.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 248

MEDICAL/DENTAL VOLUNTEERS IN VILLA DARIÉN:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Rutgers University May 2013 37 University of California San Diego June 2014 50
Central Michigan University March 2015 32

 

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Villa Darién 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 : Surface water pump
Homes connected to water : 100%
Water Council : Yes

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

VILLA DARIÉN’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Community members in Vills Darién 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.

7

Volunteers

19

Saving Accounts Opened

107

Loans Administered

$2,084

Capital Invested

VILLA DARIÉN’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

Members of the Villa Darién Caja Rural participate in a training

The Global Brigades Business and Microfinance Team trained a new Community Bank 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.

VILLA DARIÉN’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 will receive advice on their most concerning business challenges and can also receive assistance in developing sustainable agriculture practices.

BUSINESS VOLUNTEERS IN VILLA DARIÉN:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
University of Maryland Baltimore County Business March 2019 7

 

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

Global Brigades is working on the implementation of the Holistic Model in Villa Darién 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 : 90%
Homes with latrines : 100%
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.

  • Feature