Global Partners-Nicaragua aims to improve the overall health of the people and their communities in the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua by helping communities secure adequate nutrition, a clean water supply and safe housing. The Global Partners-Nicaragua program promotes education and collaborates with Nicaraguan medical providers to improve access to vital healthcare. The program supports changes that are seen as valuable by the citizens of the region and can be sustained by their own efforts.
Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, second only to Haiti. Most of the country is mountainous and rural, making it difficult for people to access needed services and opportunities. The state of Wisconsin and the Coulee Region in particular enjoy a long history of partnerships with Nicaragua, making it a natural fit for Global Partners.
Where is Global Partners-Nicaragua working?
Global Partners-Nicaragua collaborates extensively with Nicaraguan healthcare centers and community development organizations in the Matagalpa Region. Our partners include:
- Fara Clinic, a clinic operated by Fara Foundation in downtown Matagalpa. Fara Clinic provides services virtually free ($1.25 for any visit) so that Matagalpans are able to afford the care they may otherwise not receive.
- Rainbow Network, a non-governmental organization (NGO) working in over 100 rural Nicaraguan communities to end extreme poverty. Through Rainbow Network, Global Partners has developed a partnership with Santa Celia, a poor, rural village on a coffee plantation in the mountainous region of Matagalpa.
- Infacia Sin Fronteras, a Spain-based NGO working in the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua to provide nutrition, education and medical services.
- Matagalpa Regional Hospital, a 300 bed hospital serving an area with more than 500,000 individuals, with a limited number of services available.
What is Global Partners-Nicaragua doing?
Education: Through Rainbow Network and with the financial support of many local partners, Global Partners-Nicaragua has provided scholarships to high school and post-secondary students in Santa Celia. In return for these scholarship funds, the students "give back" to Santa Celia by tutoring primary students or assisting Rainbow Network physicians. In 2010, Global Partners-Nicaragua also initiated a cultural exchange between North Woods International School in La Crosse, WI, and the Santa Celia primary school. North Woods raised funds to purchase new desks, textbooks, and reading books for the school. A volunteer team delivered baseball and soccer equipment and team apparel donated by La Crosse area schools and clubs. A laptop has also been donated for secondary students in Santa Celia and a volunteer team provided computer skills training to students. Volunteers, including high school students from the Seven Rivers Region, have shared in cultural and educational activities with Santa Celia school children during trips.
Global Partners-Nicaragua is committed to providing scholarships and school supplies on an ongoing basis. The program aims to increase the number of students attending primary and secondary school and supporting post-secondary educational opportunities for promising students. Future volunteer teams will conduct a literacy assessment and explore opportunities for adult education projects in Santa Celia. The program will continue to promote educational exchange opportunities between the Seven Rivers Region and Santa Celia.
Clean Water: In July 2011, the La Crosse and La Crescent Rotary Clubs and Longfellow Middle School in La Crosse, WI, donated funds for the purchase of water filters which provide Santa Celia families with a safe water supply, key to decreasing parasitic and bacterial infections. Each home received a FILTRON water filter and education on proper use.
Housing: Current housing in Santa Celia is owned by the coffee plantation and is inadequate. New housing is essential to alleviate unsafe living conditions and health-related issues. The program's goal is to financially support the people of Santa Celia in building 25-35 homes. These homes will feature stoves that are healthier and more efficient. Families will repay Rainbow Network for their homes over a ten year period. Home ownership will allow family gardens and livestock ownership which would improve nutritional status and economic stability.
Healthcare: Rainbow Network employs Nicaraguan primary care physicians who are well-trained to provide direct patient care in rural communities. Therefore, Global Partners-Nicaragua has determined that the most sustainable, effective support for healthcare is through the education of local healthcare providers and provision of needed resources, rather than sending primary care providers from the U.S. to see patients. Previous volunteer teams have offered continuing medical education conferences, instituted safe pharmacy dispensing practices, donated Spanish medical textbooks, and provided specialty training to Nicaraguan providers. Global Partners-Nicaragua hosted two Rainbow Network physicians in La Crosse, WI for a month-long intensive ultrasound training. The program has also donated two ultrasound machines and several EKG machines.
In 2011, Global Partners-Nicaragua, through the support of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Western Campus of Nursing and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Community Health Education Department, collected data on the health needs and strengths of the Santa Celia community. Nursing students interviewed Santa Celia families to gather information about current living conditions. Public health professionals and students along with medical volunteers performed a baseline community health assessment to quantify health-related issues. This information will assist the community leaders, Rainbow Network and Global Partners-Nicaragua in prioritizing future plans. Program leaders are dedicated to measuring the impact of project interventions on the health of Santa Celia community members, and plan to develop a health assessment model that Rainbow Network can replicate in other communities.
Future efforts will focus on public health initiatives in Santa Celia to augment the primary care services from Rainbow Network providers. Global Partners-Nicaragua is working with Rainbow Network to implement pilot projects in contraception, dental care, and asthma care. Additionally, the program is planning to sponsor a public health nurse to travel with a Rainbow Network physician to provide health education.
Global Partners-Nicaragua has also been developing a relationship with the Matagalpa Regional Hospital, a government-run facility with 300 beds, surgical services and specialists, called Hospital Regional Cesar Amador Molina (HRCAM). EKG machines have been donated to the hospital, and volunteer medical staff from Gundersen Lutheran have participated in hospital rounds on Cardiology, Pediatrics, Orthopedics, PICU, and NICU services, as well as joining with Nicaraguan medical staff for impromptu Radiology rounds during visits to the Matagalpa Hospital. One volunteer physician from Gundersen Lutheran also presented at the VIIth Symposium of Evidence Based Perinatal Medicine sponsored by the Nicaraguan Society of Perinatal Medicine, and another visiting physician worked in the operating rooms with the Orthopedic service. Future support of the hospital may include continuing medical education, equipment, and sharing of medical expertise.
Economic Development: Global Partners-Nicaragua, in partnership with Rainbow Network, would like to expand micro-financing and encourage small business development in the community of Santa Celia. Projects focused on adult literacy and adult education will be developed to build capacity for economic growth. Economic development in turn will foster autonomy for the citizens of Santa Celia and help support sustainable improvements in the community's quality of life.