Yolanda Paredes-Gaitan has been working at Clinica Verde in Nicaragua since 2016 as its executive director. With Yolanda’s guidance, Clinica Verde has made momentous strides providing affordable health care options to the local community. We interviewed Yolanda on the progress, challenges, and future of Clinica Verde. What are you most proud of about the work being done by Clinica Verde? I am most proud of our unique institution that prioritizes compassionate care and how we incorporate this philosophy into our daily activities. We are the only institution in the region that has an infrastructure to offer the best quality service to our clients. In addition, I take pride in the fact that we exemplify that primary health services can be provided with dignity and high quality. We do all this while keeping in mind the three main goals of sustainable development: social, economic, and environmental. We demonstrate transparent work with respect, ethics, and fulfillment of the law and through this we can achieve many objectives. We feel confident that our work is making a positive difference and that we are advancing the development of Nicaragua. Lastly, I am proud of my team that is committed to helping others.
What initiatives that Clinica Verde is involve in do you think hold the most hope for transforming the health of communities – and why? I totally believe that health promotion and prevention are the keys for a healthy and developed country. Policies created around these main public health components have proven to decrease the number of persons affected with chronic diseases. Some of examples of this at Clinica Verde are our Prenatal Nutrition Groups and our Teen Club that teaches teens in sexual reproductive health. We also do hands-on training around health and nutrition education that is highly impactful. Health promotion and prevention are components of Clinica Verde’s daily activities and I believe these measures hold the most hope for transforming the health of our communities. What is your greatest need as you continue your efforts in providing healthcare for the community? What are some of the largest health obstacle you are seeing? We have big issues with chronic disease and limited access to medicine to control them. We can offer many services in regard to promotion, prevention, diagnosis and control, but treatment is something we cannot always afford with our patients. We are also seeing an increase in emotional and mental health problems resulting from the current social crisis and poverty with very few means to help these individuals. Lastly, Boaco (the city we work in) does not offer rehabilitation services for persons with different capabilities (speech therapy, physical therapy, etc.). I would also like to see us improve in data collection and analysis. We can always be better. What has been the hardest obstacle to overcome in providing care to the community? There is a great difficulty in accessing communities due to the lack of roads. In addition, the majority of our patients are living in extreme poverty and this presents many challenges. Poverty coupled with low levels of educational attainment makes our mission more challenging. We are so honored and inspired by the work we do each day for this population. Taylor Moss is currently in her third year at UC Davis majoring in Global Disease Biology with a minor in International Relations. She’s been interested in pursuing a health care career ever since she volunteered in Nicaragua with Clinica Verde as a sophomore in high school. Taylor recently completed a public health internship in India and helped an NGO in Nepal start a program with an emphasis on women’s health. She continues to support the work of Clinica Verde.
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