Casa Blanca Healthcare Access
The Casa Blanca Community has had a health center for thirteen
years and employs two doctors, two nurses, and sixteen brigadistas.
The center operates from 8am to 4pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and
Thursdays. On Wednesdays and Fridays, nurses and brigadistas go
into the community to make house calls, update charts, and educate
community members on disease prevention. The health center is
closed on weekends. The doctors are available infrequently, ranging
from twice a week to once a month, depending on their call schedule
at the hospital in Estelí. All of the doctors and nurses have a formal
education. The health center was built by the US Marine Corps and
usually serves about 30-50 people a day. To prevent the clinic from
being overloaded, chronic patients are instructed to come 1-2 times
a month and different communities are scheduled on different days.
The average wait is about 1 hour for most patients and 20-30
minutes for priority patients such as pregnant women.
The health center is usually equipped to give vaccinations, pap
smears, pre- and post-natal pregnancy care, and family planning.
Ideally, the health center will receive medicines monthly from the
hospital, but this is not often the case. Because of the inconsistent
access to medications, the health center’s pharmacy is lacking
many medications, especially those for chronic patients.
Additionally, the pharmacy is held in an unlocked room. Without the
necessary staff they have no way of monitoring it, and the staff
have often caught people trying to steal medications. The health
center lacks other supplies, including latex gloves which the supply
usually only lasts 20-30 days. Another potential problem is the
storage of sterile items such as gauze, which they have in supply,
but not in a sterile location.
In case of emergencies the health center sends patients to the
hospital by calling and asking for an ambulance to be sent. The
hospital is close to Pueblo Nuevo, located about 6 km away which is
15-20 minutes by car and 30 minutes by bus. The hospital only has
one ambulance, however, but it also has a truck that can be used in
case the ambulance is either in use or too far away. The
transportation provided by MINSA is free to the patient, but if the
emergency requires immediate attention or occurs at night, the
patient usually finds a neighbor or a taxi that will give them a ride.
They will usually charge the patient about C$200 for gas. If the
emergency occurs on the weekend when a health center official is
not working, the community leaders make sure to call the hospital.
Las Mangas is home to about 614 people and has about 142 homes, with an average of 4 inhabitants per home. There are 70 children between the ages of 0 to 5 and 127 children between the ages of 6 to 14. This community is approximately 30 years old, and was founded when families near Honduras immigrated because of war and violence. 30% of the families are from Mapa, near Honduras, and the other 70% are from various regions around Casa Blanca.
Brigade Site Information
Medical brigades use the Casa Blanca health center as their brigade site. The intake, traige, and charla stations are held outside of the health center. The consultation rooms, dental station, and pharmacy are located inside the health center buildings.
Current Community Initiatives
There are currently no other community initiatives taking place in Casa Blanca. The Community Health Workers program is currently being developed in Nicaragua and will be initiated in this community in the near future.
Last Visit: August 2015
This past August, a group of 23 students from the University of Birmingham participated in a brigade in Casa Blanca.
|Number of Houses
|Average # Persons Per House
|Most Common Illness||Respiratory Problems|
|Most Recent Brigade Date||July 2015
|General Community Profile|
|Pre-Brigade Lesson Plans|