Participant in the 2011 ACM Student Symposium on Off-Campus Study
- Program: Institute for Central American Development Studies (ICADS), Costa Rica/Nicaragua - Fall 2010
- Graduation: May 2011
- Major: Biological Chemistry (pre-med)
Healthcare in Nicaragua: An Imperfect System
I worked at al Centro de Salud, a healthcare facility, in San Ramon, Matagalpa, Nicaragua. The goal of the clinic is to administer free healthcare services to all individuals in the San Ramon Municipality.
Much of my time was spent outside of the clinic in schools and campos and barrios, which are communities located in the mountains and outside of the town area, respectively. I went on numerous vaccination campaigns for Hepatitis B, pneumonia, H1N1, Leptospirosis, etc.
At left: Video of Tequilla Manning's presentation at the Symposium.
One of the many strengths of the clinic is that they work hard to reach individuals who do not or are unable to come to the clinic. However, the clinic faces many challenges: there are only a few doctors, so the nurses do nearly everything with regards to medical procedures; the clinic lacks basic medical supplies; the staff does not practice basic sanitation or follow medical privacy and confidentiality rules; there are no set guidelines for administering medications and vaccinations. Furthermore, in my opinion, the staff lacks motivation and a pressing concern for their patients.
To better understand the healthcare system and the community, I conducted two independent projects: I taught a self-esteem class at the woman's center and conducted interviews with the patients at the clinic. Learning about the healthcare system, the culture, and the educational system were all vital to my experience abroad. In sum, I think the bigger picture is this: people suffer from poverty everyday in Nicaragua, and poverty plays a big role in their health and education. Due to lack of medical assistance, money, and community and government support, many people simply have no means to improve their living conditions.
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