Clinica Verde’s Director of Maintenance Roniels, 30, is in charge of taking care of our building and site. He has an 11-year-old son, and lives with his mother. Roniels is, simply, a treasure – a gentleman, highly responsible, with exceptional standards and great pride in his work. When people come to Clinica Verde, they always comment on how well the environment is maintained. That’s Roniels. We depend on him in so many ways, and he is always quick to make suggestions for improvements in our care for the building and our service. It’s a pleasure to introduce him to you.
You take such good care of Clinica Verde. It’s obvious that you take a great sense of responsibility and pride in your work. How do you think of your work? What motivates you?
Roniels: My work is a gift from God. My work is wonderful and I’m motivated to work with people who value my work, such as (Clinica Verde GM) Don Rafael Morales, (CV Director) Dr. Alba Castillo and you in the United States who have allowed us to have such work.
You’re also known as someone who is very punctual at all times. You are the first to arrive each morning so that we can always open Clinica Verde on time. How did you learn to be so reliable and punctual?
Roniels: Punctuality for me is part of being professional as a worker and my responsibility. It is also to make sure the employer is satisfied with the work of the employee.
Surely you have visited other clinics and hospitals in Nicaragua. What makes Clinica Verde different in your opinion?
Roniels: The difference is very logical. Clinica Verde is clean, beautiful and the attention to patients is a thousand times better. We have standards of hygiene and care much, much better than other hospitals and clinics. We strive to make sure that Clinica Verde is always clean and maintained.
Do you have a story about Clinica Verde that represents what makes it special to you?
Roniels: When I came to Clinica Verde I saw the beautiful building and Jennifer Owen, the North American who contracted me, treated me very well. I learned about the mission of Clinica Verde and I liked it very much, and I stayed.
What are your goals for the future?
Roniels: To arrive to know the true path so that I can meet Jesus Christ and die with him in my heart.
Is there anything you’d like to say to our supporters?
Roniels: My name is Roniels. The friends and supporters of Clinica Verde are people who have beautiful hearts and support this noble cause to help my people. To all of you who have opened your doors and triumphed to help Clinica Verde, know that penny for penny your money is invested well. It is beautiful to see when poor people leave Clinica Verde happy that they have received good care and medication, and that we are able to have work, and in this way our children can study.
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Clinica Verde has served over 27,000 patients since opening in January of 2012. Thank you so much for supporting health and hope to families in need. We couldn't do our work without you.
Please remember us on #GivingTuesday!
When Ana Urbina, 47, visited Clínica Verde for the first time in November 2012, she complained of having body aches and pain in her right arm.
She had suspected something was wrong with her heart since the day she experienced a sudden, acute pain in her chest, a feeling “like someone was pressing down on it,” she says. Ana, who washes and irons clothes for a living, noticed that even moderate amounts of physical work were beginning to cause her palpitations.
An electrocardiogram performed at the clinic revealed cardiac ischemia, or an insufficient flow of blood to the heart caused by an obstruction of the arteries. Chest pain, discomfort, and fatigue are common symptoms.
Not long after her diagnosis, Ana received more bad news: her husband had been killed in a road accident. The weeks that followed were what she calls the darkest times of her life. And it was during this time that she experienced strange episodes of anxiety.
“I would start crying out of nowhere,” she remembers. “Anything would scare me. If I heard a phone call my whole body would shake. … I would get the feeling something bad was going to happen to me.” Clinica Verde’s Dr. Varela, who is in charge of her case, believes the stress aggravated the pre-existing condition.
Clinica Verde provided Ana with medication designed to improve blood and oxygen supply to the heart and prevent chest pain. Ana says she has not experienced panic attacks or heart discomfort since she started taking it.
Dr. Varela has also advised her to reduce her workload, given her heightened risk of suffering a heart attack. Ana says she’s been working a lot less but can’t give up the job completely, as she is coping with difficult financial times. “My husband used to help me line-dry the clothes when I got too tired,” she says. “Now I have to find others to help me. It often means I have to pay them,” she says.
Clínica Verde Director Dr. Alba Castillo explains that because the clinic deals primarily with maternal-infant cases, medication for chronic diseases is sometimes limited. Still, the clinic receives all types of patients, she says.
Dr. Varela was able to obtain a similar medication, a drug designed to improve blood and oxygen supply to the heart and prevent chest pain. “It’s nice to see that our doctors still go out of their way to meet their patients’ needs,” says Dr. Castillo.
“I don’t think I would’ve been able to get it otherwise,” says Ana, who has not experienced panic attacks or heart discomfort since taking the medication.
Ana recently moved in with her daughter and says spending time with her 5-year-old grand-daughter Frangie has kept her mind off her condition. “I only wish I had taken care of the problem sooner,” she says. Ana brought Frangie with her to Clinica Verde when she came to see Dr. Varela, and Frangie received preventive pediatric care. Ana said her favorite thing about Clinica Verde is the attentive service.
“The service here is excellent,” she said. “The nurses and doctors are all very welcoming.”
Clinica Verde is honored to serve both cherished patients.
Maria Oviedo is a student at The University of Notre Dame.
From January through October 2013, Clinica Verde ...• Served over 12,000 patient visits• Performed 120 Pap tests (precancerous screenings) on women• Experienced a 40% increase from the same period in 2012 in growth and development consults of children under 5• Treated more than 175 children under 5 for diarrhea. Globally, diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among children under 5 and the leading cause of malnutrition• Began a census of pregnancies in compliance and coordination with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health
Thanks for your continued support! We couldn't do our work without you.
Hola, Awesome Supporters!
Do you ever wonder who our patients are? We have so many stories to share. I'd like to share just one, so that you get a glimpse into the world that you so generously support. Meet Eusebia ...
MOTHER OF 17 FEELS BLESSED
IN HER LIFETIME, 74-year-old Eusebia Rodríguez gave birth to 17 children, 12 of whom survived into adulthood. The friendly Boaco native, who never went to school, started her family at age 16 and spent her early years of motherhood working as a food vendor from her home. The job allowed her to be close to her children, but eventually turned dull, tiresome and financially unstable, says Eusebia.
Yearning for opportunity, at age 33 she and her sons moved to Nueva Guinea, a sleepy agricultural town near the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua – almost 140 miles away. The start was difficult, Eusebia says, but she soon purchased pigs, a cow, and grew her own vegetable plot.
At an advanced age, Eusebia began to suffer one of the possible adverse effects of childbirth: a cystocele, or “fallen bladder.” Clínica Verde’s Dr. Haldam Varela explains that a cystocele develops when the supportive tissue under the bladder weakens as a result of straining during childbirth, causing it to sink. Women who have multiple natural births are at greater risk of suffering this condition, Dr. Varela says.
Eusebia recalls that any minimal pressure – coughing, sneezing or even sitting down– would cause her urinary incontinence, so she visited a local doctor to treat the problem. “He gave me injections, pills, but nothing had an effect on me,” says Eusebia.
“I noticed the problem was persistent; and as time went by it only got worse. I had to make diapers out of old rags,“ she says. “It’s one of the most unpleasant feelings in the world.”
Having heard of Clínica Verde through her daughters, who stayed behind when she moved to Nueva Guinea, Eusebia returned to her hometown and visited the clinic, where she was examined and referred to Boaco’s local hospital for surgery. Dr. Varela says he is pleased to see “inter-institutional coordination” between Clínica Verde and the hospital, particularly because he works part-time at both institutions. He also says Eusebia could go to the hospital for post-operatory care, but prefers to come to the clinic.
Eusebia says her favorite thing about Clínica Verde is how clean it appears. “This is a real clinic. Other places I’ve been to shouldn’t call themselves clinics – they’re just filth!” she says.
She is adamant that the most important aspect of a good household is cleanliness. She says she still hand-washes her own clothes despite Dr.Varela’s strict orders to rest, because she believes no one can clean them like she can.
She says she feels much better since the surgery and looks forward to going back to work on her farm as soon as she recovers. “I’ve been so blessed by God,” says Eusebia. “I have my children, my pigs, my chicken – I’m not missing anything.”
By Maria Oviedo, CV intern and a student at the University of Notre Dame.
Thanks for your continued support! Now, below, some info from the first 6 months of 2013:
In the first 6 months of 2013, Clinica Verde served 7,876 patients, an increase of 21% from the same period in 2012. Following are some highlights of that activity: • We performed 1,017 controls for growth and development of children under 5 years old, an increase of 28% from the previous year. • 54% of patients served were first-time visitors, while 46% were return patients, demonstrating that we are growing while developing loyalty among our patient base. • 61% of patients served came from rural zones and 36% came from the urban area (the rest came from other departments) • 30% of our patients were under 5 years of age. • 45% of our patients were women of fertile age. • 61% of our pregnant patients came to the clinic in the first trimester of their pregnancies (a 37% increase in this number from 2012). We’re encouraged by the number of patients who are coming to the clinic for preventative care, and are particularly heartened that 68% of our pregnant women returned for their recommended 4 prenatal visits. We think that's pretty wonderful.
Please email me any time if you have questions about our work in the world. It's always a pleasure to connect with you and share more about our work. Thanks again for your kindness and generosity!