Access to Health Care by Sydney S

Access to Health Care by Sydney S


In the community of El Limon 1 & 2, there are many challenges and few resources towards maintaining good health.  Some examples are access to clean water, medicine, transportation to hospitals, and teen pregnancies.

In this community there are 3 clinics/places to visit to if you are sick, injured, need immunizations or pregnant.  The first is the private clinic in Limon 1.  In this clinic, our host today, explained that you are required to pay $40 if you are a foreigner or $1 if you are a resident in the community for a consultation.  There is an ambulance service that costs the amount of gas to drive it, but it’s not always available… however, the Fenix students who give health talks around the community said that that was not true.  The ambulance and health services cost a lot more and most residents can’t afford the medicine. 

There’s a large garden at the clinic that grows herbs and vegetables to demonstrate a healthy way to balance their diet… it’s a year old and still in the experimentation stage, with hopes to diversify the diet of the community.

When I asked Diana, a Fenix student, about the private clinic, she said it wasn’t great, but necessary because the public clinic isn’t always available.At the local Centro de Salud or health clinic in Limon 2, there are 3 main health employees, the doctor, nurse and nurse’s assistant.  This clinic, founded in 2007, is paid for by the Nicaraguan government.  At this clinic everything is free for all. Their mission is serve everyone.  They have over 5,000 patients and keep extensive records on every single one, all done by hand.  They even have maps of the communities that show the households and who needs care in each.  They travel by foot to reach every single community member. The public clinic depends entirely on donations and a small budget from the national government, and so has lot less resources than the private clinic, because they don’t charge anyone for health care.

The 3rd place we visited was a finca or farm where medicinal herbs and plants are grown for the community.  Adela, who is trained in traditional or indigenous herbal medicine, gave us a tour and shared many remedies with us.  One, the flor de avispa, a bright red blossom, is used to cure intestinal problems like bloody diarrhea. She is also a pastor in her community and the farm is divided into plots for church members to grow food.

People from all over the area just show up at her house for her help.

This was very shocking compared to Portland, where I can easily access health care and get the attention I need. However, Portland and the U.S. is not perfect, many don’t have health care at all.  Even here, in Nicaragua, where it is far less wealthy than Portland anyone can walk into a public clinic and get treated.