Cervical cancer in the U.S. is generally quite rare due to preventative care, but it’s still a major killer of women under 50 in Nicaragua. Global Partners has teamed up with Fara Clinic to provide ob/gyn services, train gynecologists on cystoscopy procedures, screen for cervical cancer, and donate equipment and supplies. A recent partnership with The Lily Project, a Nicaraguan NGO, has led to an expansion of women’s health education & programming, and increased cervical cancer screenings. The Lily Project offers gynecological services by only women, ensures clean and safe procedures, and guarantees test results.
An eye exam will cost a Nicaraguan approximately one month’s salary. The vision screening initiative provides comprehensive eye exams to rural Nicaraguans who don’t have access to this care. In 2015 alone, Global Partners provided 386 eye exams, dispensed 199 pairs of prescription glasses & 450 pairs of sunglasses, and obtained 6 pairs of custom-made eyeglasses.
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.
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 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.
Literacy assessments in rural Matagalpa demonstrated just under half of families had no reading materials at home, and 4/10 adults could not read or write a simple sentence. The education initiative has worked on opening lending libraries in these communities, and provided early literacy training to adults for preparing their children.
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.
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.