Health
 Nicaragua
Project #2680

Healthcare for Pregnant Women in Nicaragua

by Clinica Verde
Vetted
Jessie Wheeler + students from CV
Jessie Wheeler + students from CV's teen program

One of the great benefits of working at Clinica Verde is that it introduces us to so many generous and wonderful people who are interested in helping out. Jessica Wheeler is one of those special people. We first connected with her after she made an online donation in 2009, when Clinica Verde was just getting started. She wrote then: “The mission of Clinica Verde rings true on so many different levels and my contribution is the least I could do.” Jessica stayed in touch over the years as we brought the vision of Clinica Verde to life. She is now a graduate student at Columbia University in New York City getting her degree as a Nurse Practitioner, specializing in psychiatry. She also works at a startup called FRND, which is like an Uber for RN’s, bringing on-demand nursing care to people’s homes.

This past summer – 6 years after she first reached out – Jessica and her husband Tim volunteered for 5 weeks at Clinica Verde. We asked Jessie to briefly share her experience.

What drew you to working at Clinica Verde?
As an avid surfer, I have visited (and loved!) Nicaragua for over a decade. A few years ago a fellow traveller mentioned the clinic to me, saying they knew someone from California who was starting a clinic for women in the mountains (I wish I could remember who this person was!). In any event, Clinica Verde was just a concept at this point, but I started donating small sums of money for the building of the clinic. When I became a registered nurse, I wanted to give something back to Nicaragua. I thought spending some time working at Clinica Verde would be a good way to do this! In addition, I’m very interested in global health and I knew CV would give me an education that I could never find in a classroom.

What was the most challenging thing about your experience at Clinica Verde?
The language barrier. I am “conversational” in Spanish but did not have enough of a grasp on the language to understand all of the small interactions that occur between doctor and patient.

What was the most uplifting experience?
Oh wow. I’m not sure. All of it? I suppose the most specifically uplifting experience was the TeenSmart Program and our day discussing contraception. I take contraception very seriously and have been a cheerleader for family planning for quite some time! I thoroughly enjoyed imparting this information to the teens in the program. Parts of it seemed to really resonate with them!

Is there one story/patient who really stuck with you? 
I worked with one mother who had a very sick infant. The infant was not feeding properly, losing weight, and spiked a fever. Ultimately this baby needed to be in the ER and have IV fluids, but the process of helping the mother through it was very rewarding. The mother was nervous but appreciative of the care we provided.

We’re so grateful to have Jessica as a part of our Clinica Verde family!

• • •

This past year, we've served over 10,000 patients at Clinica Verde, providing not just clinical care and medical consults, but education talks on nutrition, hygiene, prenatal care and more. We're particularly excited and grateful for our TeenSmart program, which trains teen peer counselors in sexual reproductive health, and our Prenatal Nutrition Program, which provides young mothers a support network and education on the stages of fetal development, the importance of diet and nutrition, and well baby care.

We couldn't have done it without you.

We want to wish all of our awesome donors and volunteers a joy-filled holiday season. You are helping to make a difference in the world through your kindness and compassion. 

With love and gratitude,

Susan

Maribel at Clinica Verde
Maribel at Clinica Verde

Maribel*, 24, came to Clinica Verde in February of 2014 for her first prenatal appointment. She joined the pilot of Grupo de Bienestar Materno Infantil - our Prenatal Nutrition Program, where she worked with obstetrician Dr. Madellein Reyes, our Nutritionist Mary Flores and nurse Yazmina Diaz. 

Maribel worried that she wouldn't be able to come to Clinica Verde because of her lack of resources and the cost of transportation, so the staff supported her by providing transportation. She was an excellent member of our group, maintaining a great attitude throughout and meeting the appointments for all of her prenatal check-ups.

With her integration into the program, her state of health improved. She always arrived on time and carefully followed the suggestions of her medical team. As a single mother, Maribel's participation was challenging and she is extremely grateful for those who supported her so that she could learn to care for herself and her baby to create a foundation for long-term positive health.

On August 24, Maribel gave birth to a beautiful baby girl via cesarean section. The baby weighed 7.8 pounds and demonstrated normal vital signs. On September 4, Maribel visited Clinica Verde for her baby's first checkup. Thank you for supporting Maribel and her daughter, who we will continue to follow and monitor with love and compassion at Clinica Verde!

More about our Prenatal Nutrition Project ...

Clinica Verde's Prenatal Nutrition Project project uses interactive lectures, food-based approaches and socio-behavioral change curriculum to teach pregnant mothers about the stages of fetal development, ways to care for the health of their child in the womb and nutrition during the pre-natal, post-natal periods and the first five years of life. The program has the following goals:

• To reduce childhood malnutrition and nutrient deficiency (Goal: 80% of mothers can identify 3 symptoms of malnutrition or nutrient deficiency and 2 symptoms of over-nutrition

• To increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding (Goal: 70% of participants to practice exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months post-delivery)

• To increase knowledge of nutrition and bolster diet diversity (Goal: In final project survey, 90% of mothers can identify 3 nutrient-dense vegetables and health benefits, and a way to cook at home)

• To foster pride in pregnancy (Goal: 80% of mothers give correct responses to 2/3 fetal development questions during the final evaluation)

• To create a supportive community of pregnant mothers (Mothers meet together in a group at Clinica Verde weekly for the 10-week program)

• To increase interest in home gardening techniques and the bio-intensive method (Provide seeds to mothers and do home visits to aid and promote home gardening)

Our pilot showed great promise and we are now starting with our second group of mothers.

Many thanks for your continued support as we work to transform the long-term health of the community we serve.

Nurse Celina with Maribel
Nurse Celina with Maribel's healthy newborn

Dear Wonderful Supporters:

At Clinica Verde, we just completed a pilot of our Maternal Infant Nutrition Program, a project using interactive lectures, food based approaches and socio-behavioral change curriculum to teach pregnant mothers about the stages of fetal development, and ways to care for the health of their child in the womb and nutrition during the pre-natal, post-natal periods and the first five years of life. There is substantial evidence that prenatal and under 5 nutrition impacts a person’s health and wellness over their entire life course. Education surrounding these topics is limited in the city of Boaco, Nicaragua, where Clinica Verde is located, and demand exists to repair the discrepancy. To address this, Clinica Verde initiated a 10-week pilot project for pregnant mothers to teach fetal development and maternal and child nutrition through presentations, interactive activities, use of our organic, bio-intensive demonstration garden and cooking demonstrations. We're thrilled by the promise and early feedback on this program and, with your help, hope to continue the work. Below, meet one of the mothers who engaged in the program.

Nuvea*, 20, recently discovered she was pregnant. She is now part of Clinica Verde's Maternal and Infant Group, and visits every Wednesday with other new mothers to learn about care and nutrition during pregnancy. Here is what Clinica Verde means to Nuvea: 

"Being a part of this group is an incredible experience. We did not come prepared to be mothers, but now I feel I'm ready to be one. Clinica Verde provides an education that you can't receive anywhere else around here. Now that I´ll be a mother, I have learned to love myself even more knowing that I have life inside. It gives me tranquility to know that Clinica Verde will be there when my baby is born and I can bring him here and entrust him to these people who treat me well and are so welcoming. I come here because I want the best for my son and somehow I already feel like a part of this place." 

Thanks for helping us provide this experience to Petronila and other mothers. We hope you will continue to follow our progress!

•••

In other news ...

Community outreach is a big part of our vision for health and hope at Clinica Verde, and this week our staff celebrated Day of the Child in the village of Paso de Lajas, located southeast of the city of Boaco. The village has a population of 300 people, including 50 families who attended our celebration. During the day we distributed vitamins to the children and painted their faces. It was a great time for staff and the community. Thank you for helping us do this work! 

With gratitude,

Susan

*Her name has been changed to protect her privacy.

Day of the Child
Day of the Child
Welcome to Clinica Verde!
Welcome to Clinica Verde!
Day of the Child
Day of the Child
Students working at our biointensive garden.
Students working at our biointensive garden.

Dear Friends and Supporters:

We're really excited to share with you the launch of a new program at Clinica Verde - Grupo de Bienestar Materno Infantil  (GBMI). This project to promote maternall infant wellbeing is a pilot using interactive lectures, food based approaches and a socio-behavioral change curriculum to teach pregnant mothers about the stages of fetal development, ways to care for the health of their child in the womb and nutrition during the pre-natal, post-natal periods and the first five years of life. There has been substantial evidence that prenatal and under-5 nutrition impacts a person’s health and wellness over their entire life course. Additionally, there is substantial evidence that education surrounding these topics is limited in the city of Boaco, Nicaragua and demand exists to repair the discrepancy. For this, Clinica Verde is initiating a ten-week pilot project for pregnant mothers that will teach fetal development and maternal and child nutrition through presentations, interactive activities, use of our Clinica Verde organic, bio-intensive demonstration garden and cooking demonstrations. 

Pretty awesome, right? 

Here are some of our specific objectives of the project:

  • 80% of GBMI participants give breast milk to their infant within one hour of birth—this is concurrently encouraged by the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health
  • 70% of GBMI participants attempt to practice EBF for 6 months post delivery- practicing EBF can be a challenge for various reasons beyond control; for this reason, this strategic objective is presented as an attempt.
  • In final project survey, 90% of mothers can identify 3 nutrient-dense vegetables, the health benefits that those products confer and a way to cook them in their home that retains nutritional value
  • At 3rd month home visit, 70% of GBMI participants report 2 additional fruits or vegetables in the previous day’s diet as compared to the initial program survey 24 hour recall
  • In a survey of childhood malnutrition/over-nutrition 80% of mothers can identify 3 symptoms of malnutrition or nutrient deficiency and 2 symptoms of over-nutrition
  • Increase knowledge of the internal pregnancy process and fetal development- 8 out of 10 mothers give correct responses to 2/3 development questions during end of reunion evaluations
  • Mothers demonstrate gradual increase in verbal participation; 8 of 10 mothers attend the 4 months post project lunch at Clinica Verde
  • 80% of mothers use Clinica Verde for child’s health and development visits
  • One family member of a GBMI participant attends a CV bio-intensive cooperative gardening session during the 3 month GBMI course

We realize this won't be easy, but our team is excited by the potential for impact among our cherished patients.

We'll keep you posted on how things go. In the meantime, please know that your support is vital to this project - and all that we do at Clinica Verde to bring health and hope to families living in poverty.

We love our supporters!!

One of our sweet patients!
One of our sweet patients!
A mother cooking using an ecostove.
A mother cooking using an ecostove.

Dear Friends and Supporters:

Last year we started a TeenSmart club at Clinica Verde, and we're excited to share with you how it's going. First of all, Our Teen Club is comprised of more than 20 teens from the region we serve. These teens are trained to be peer counselors to other young people in surrounding communities, encouraging engagement, self-esteem, and responsible behavior around smart sexual health and wellbeing. They have a special space at Clinica Verde that they fixed up to be their place for brainstorming, meeting and supporting one another.

Recently, we visited the homes of adolescents in our TeenSmart program. We got to meet their mothers and siblings, and share personally the work we're doing with their young leaders. A couple of our teens also developed the idea to visit an elderly care center. A couple of the students, who are studying nursing, performed blood pressure checks and general health assessments for the elderly in the nearby community of San Nicolas. Other students participated in community service by cleaning windows at the center, served refreshments to the elderly and spent time building new friendships. It was a wonderful day.

This work is guided and overseen by TeenSmart International, a non-profit organization that promotes self care and self-empowerment among teens with the goal of reducing or preventing risky sexual health behavior. Providing peer support and engaging in community service opportunities is key to building self-confidence. We wanted to share photos of some of this work with you. We'll keep you updated as we have more information and data on the program and curriculum. In the meantime, we wanted to share some photos of our teens and action and simply thank you for your ongoing faith and support. We couldn't do our work without you!

Gratefully,

Betsy

 

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Organization Information

Clinica Verde

Location: Angwin, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.clinicaverde.org
Project Leader:
Susan Dix Lyons
Staff member
Angwin, CA United States
2016 Year End Campaign
Time left to give
$33,817 raised of $50,000 goal
 
542 donations
$16,183 to go
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