Bringing Technology To Remote Areas
Limon 1, Nicaragua: For readers of this article, it might seem that easy access to a diagnostic ultrasound is the standard where you live but in Limon 1, Tola, a very poor and remote community in Nicaragua, an ultrasound is hard to find and can make the difference between life and death.
The Roberto Clemente Santa Ana Health Clinic provides affordable primary care, emergency care, dental care, ambulatory surgery, lab work, and preventative health education to improve the well–being of the residents in the impoverished communities of Limon I and Limon II, Nicaragua.
As the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Nicaragua suffers immensely from a deficiency in available medical care. Many of the rural communities do not have local health care facilities and they cannot afford the treatment that is offered in the cities.
Recently, Mary Hulse, a volunteer and ultrasound technician, arrived to Nicaragua to teach our medical staff how to perform ultrasounds on patients in this remote area. The ultrasound equipment valued at $12,000 USD was donated to the clinic several years ago but hasn´ had much use due to lack of training. Previous patients who required this type of exam had to go to Rivas, by riding in a public bus for two hours. They would have to pay out-of-pocket for the ultrasound at a cost that could feed a family of five for one week. It was also not uncommon for them to wait days or weeks to get an appointment at the hospital.
Because of the education and generosity of Mary Hulse, our patients are now able to have an ultrasound at The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic during their medical consultation.
As a result of the staff’s training, a total of 36 ultrasounds were performed over four days which meant 36 answers for people who didn´t know what they were suffering from. What was previously labeled “abdominal pain” was differentiated as ailments of the gallbladder, liver, kidneys, and ovaries. The clinic even provided a prenatal exam to a woman in her 7th month of pregnancy who wanted to know the baby’s gender and health.
The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic provides health care to over 12,000 underprivileged Nicaraguans per year. The clinic also provides volunteer opportunities for health professionals and students of all levels. Volunteering at The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic is the perfect way to combine benevolence with medical education.
For more information, click here or call Juan Muñoz at 410-369-0512