A man suffered an accidental machete injury on his head. He was working in the field when it happened. They brought him to the community clinic, and I knew exactly what to do.
Following AMOS guidelines from our trainings, I washed my hands very well, I cleaned the area of the injury and applied the sutures in the way we have been taught. When I was done, I told him how to take care of it, how to clean the sutures and I applied triple antibiotic cream to prevent infections. On the next days, I visited the man to make sure he was following my recommendations. Thanks to God, there was no problem and the man healed completely.
—- Ramon, health promoter of Nawasito
AMOS has so much going on all of the time that I hardly know where to begin talking about things here. There are trainings, support groups, planning activities, visitors, medical care through the Samaritan Clinic and in 22 rural communities, the list goes on and on. Every building and room on the campus bustles with activity from 7:00 am (the start of the Nicaraguan business day) to after 4:30 pm (the end of the business day).
Zika training and prevention launched last week. It is the rainy season and mosquito activity really began at the beginning of September. Support groups with pregnant women and women with young children are held through out the week. Crews come and go to the “campo” (literally it means countryside and is used to describe the rural parts of Nicaragua). Although, it is relatively quiet because there are not volunteer groups coming down right now. There is a break in volunteer teams during August and September. It doesn’t keep crews of AMOS staff from continuing to go out, though.
Here are some stories that tell about a few of the wonderful programs going on here>
Youth Empowerment Program–Youth are our future. In 2016, AMOS developed a youth empowerment program that uses community empowerment education and care group methodology to reduce and prevent risky sexual behaviors, alcohol and drug use, tobacco use, accidental injuries, depression, and poor nutritional habits in adolescents ranging from 10 to 19 years old in rural Nicaragua. It is focused in five especially high risk rural communities and one urban area, Nejapa. Currently, there are 40 youth leaders in the rural communities and 13 in the community of Nejapa. These youth leaders are paired with care groups of 8-10 youth in their community. The leaders are taught lesson plans and group training techniques that they then teach to their care groups. It is a great use of a cascading model, which AMOS uses extensively.
Jefferson is a youth leader from the community of El Bambú which is on the Caribbean Coast. At 17 years old he lives with his family. He is a junior in high school and during his free time supports his dad in the field. “I was invited to joined the youth leaders from my community and I accepted because I had a goal to help other youths from my community. I’m also a member of the youth committee in my community”
He is the leader of a care group in El Bambú. He expressed his feelings about being a leader in his community: “I’m feeling good about my role and that my community proposed me as young leader. I feel good being one of their leaders because as they learn from me I learn from them. I have received young people in the lessons I impart; however, they have to be consistent to assist to all the lessons.”
He want his community to be a healthy community too. He dreams “first to continue reducing pregnancies at an early age, and that his community be a more civilized and clean community, and that it will become a healthy community.”
Essential medicines–Through grant funding from the Alliance of Baptists and White Cross, AMOS is able to provide essential medicines to all 23 communities we currently work in. In addition, the funding supports an AMOS staff pharmacist who oversees the use of medications in each community and provides ongoing training to the community health promoters. During the period of July 2016 to June 2017 over 24,476 prescriptions were prescribed and provided.
One day, Ana Delfina, the health promoter from La Majada tells us, she went to visit a mom and her one-year old baby to check on their health condition.
I found that the child was suffering from a bad case of diarrhea. The mom told me she had brought him to the nearest government health unit and that there they only gave him oral rehydration salts.
Since I didn’t have any medications with me, I told the mom to go to the community clinic. There, I prescribed her son furazolidone, zinc sulfate, oral rehydration salts, I also counseled the mom [on exactly how to administer the medications] to make sure the child got well.
I advised the mom about the importance of hand washing before and after eating, especially for children, who sometimes play in the dirt and on the floor. I also told her that all meals for the boy should be well cooked and to keep the food in a clean and sealed container to prevent contamination from flies.
Three days later I went to visit the boy again. He was doing much better. The mom had been really worried because the child’s anus was irritated. In the health unit, people told her it was normal but she was worried.
I told the mom to continue the medication because it was going to help her son and thanks to God the child healed completely after the treatment was overs.
Urban Health Program–This program serves as a vital link between AMOS and the community where we are situated. Nejapa is a poor community of over 6,000 people, which feels very much like a rural community sometimes lacking potable water and sewage systems. There are three main components to the Program: provision of care through the clinic, establishment and operation of community support groups, and training and support of community health workers (consejeras). This year we especially focused resources on teen empowerment, pregnant women and diabetes treatment and prevention.
Pastora Eleticia Estrada lives in Nejapa with her 2 children, who are 18 and 10 years old. She is a hard-working and single mom who works night shifts from 10pm to 7am in a warehouse in Managua in order to provide for the basic needs of her family.
“I have always liked the care given by the doctors here, they are very kind and explain things very well. My biggest health problem is related to cholesterol and my liver,” Pastora told us.She suffers from high cholesterol and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which if left untreated can lead to infections and eventually death. The treatment, besides a special diet, involves many medications that are out of Pastora’s reach.
“At the Clinic I have access to seeing a doctor, and getting the medical tests and medications I need. For the last couple of months, I have come regularly because the doctor is following-up on my liver problem, and checking if the treatment is working.
The last time my son got ill with fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea I took him here, to the Samaritan Clinic, and doctors immediately saw him. Thanks to God the medicines worked quickly and he recovered completely”,
Pastora is very grateful to have the support of the Patient Care Program at the Samaritan Clinic. She explains: “because I could never afford the medical tests and medications for my health problems. And in emergencies like the one with my son, I don’t know what I would have done. Sometimes, even public health centers in Managua lack the medications the doctors prescribe you, and then people have to buy them at drugstores. I definitely couldn’t buy my medications.
I am so grateful to everyone who supports this ministry. May God bless and give you more so you can keep on helping. We are blessed to have your support,” Pastora says.