Health
 Nicaragua
Project #2680

Healthcare for Pregnant Women in Nicaragua

by Clinica Verde
Vetted

Dear Awesome Supporters:

2013 was a wonderful year for Clinica Verde as we continued to expand our services, strengthen our partnerships and serve our patients. Here are a few highlights:

In 2013, we ...

• Served 14,415 patients.

• 37% of our patients were women of fertile age. We increased our number of prenatal controls 30.5% over the previous year; 72% of these patients came to CV in the first trimester of their pregnancies.

• 19% of our pregnant patients were adolescents; of these, 48% came from rural areas.

• 31% of patients were children under age 5. Of these, 12% of children under the age of 1 were underweight and 27% of children between the ages of 1 and 4 were underweight.

• 19% were adults over 50.

As we reviewed the year, it became clear that there's a need for services for the larger community. With that in mind, we're continuing to serve women and children, but we're making it clear that Clinica Verde is a community health clinic that serves all patients in need of excellent care, compassion and health and nutrition education. 

In the coming year we plan to continue our cervical cancer screening program, and amp our program to address adolescent pregnancy. We'll be starting Clinica Verde's Youth Club sometime in the coming months. This excellent idea came from CV Administrator David Narvaez, who was shaped by his experiences with a youth club in Nicaragua himself. David submitted his plan as part of our "Great Ideas" contest for employees in 2013.

Lots of good things happening! Below is short story about one of our cherished patients. I hope you enjoy! Thanks, as always, for your kindness, compassion and generosity!

Saludos,

Susan

Maria Elena is a Proud Mother

(Note: Names have been changed to protect the privacy of our patients.)

By Maria Jose Montiel Castillo 

The mother of 5 came from the region of La Concepcion. She left her home at 6:30 a.m. to arrive at Clinica Verde at 8:15, a long journey to find relief for her children. Her name was Maria Elena.

On this visit she was accompanied by 3 of her children: Francisco, 3, Eduardo, 1, and Nubia, 14. Both boys arrived with a high fever, and Nubia came along to help her mother on the journey. Francisco was excited to start preschool, his mother bragged. He couldn’t stop talking about it “like a parrot,” she said proudly.

It was her fourth visit to Clinica Verde, her fourth time with Francisco and Eduardo, who get sick frequently. Maria Elena explained that Dr. Nubia Huete always took care of them well. “The doctor has a nice way about her,” she said.

On this day, his mother said, Eduardo was suffering with a cold and fever. At 1 year old, he weighs 18 pounds. The previous month Dr. Huete had detected anemia and today the doctor diagnosed him with mild asthma and pneumonia. Maria Elena was given a nebulizer to use on Eduardo three times every 20 minutes, and was asked to come back in 8 days.

Maria Elena said that she learned about Clinica Verde through her mother, who told her CV provided good care to its patients. Also, “if I go to a private pharmacy it costs me much more,” added Maria Elena, and they might not have all the medications prescribed for her children.

Mary Elena and her husband Ricardo had their first child together at 18. She said she had only finished school through 5th grade, which made her sad, but she insisted that her children attend school and follow their dreams, “since we could not.” Her daughter Nubia hopes to study Agricultural Engineering.

“I think I have been a good mother, and I never regret being a mother,” said Maria Elena. “Without my children I would be alone. I would be sad not to hear their laughter, see their games and feel their love.”

Maria Jose Montiel Castillo is a student in the School of Communications at the University of Central America. 

Azucena Narvaez Campos is one of our cherished nurses at Clinica Verde. She’s 22 years old, single, and lives in the community of Boaco with her parents. She is the youngest of 4 siblings. Azucena humbles us with her dedication to her work and kindness to all who enter Clinica Verde’s doors. It’s a pleasure to introduce her to you.

How do you approach your work? What motivates you?

For me it’s a miracle from God that I’m working in this beautiful clinic since many people came looking for work and they chose me. I’m grateful to God and to all of you for giving me the opportunity to work for a good cause. I’m motivated by the smile of a patient after seeing a change in her health, and to see patients return with their families – to see that they have such a good opinion of Clinica Verde.

What’s the difference between Clinica Verde and other clinics?

The big difference in Clinica Verde is the human warmth, the sensitivity, and the quality of attention we offer to the needy and neglected.

Do you have a story about your work that represents what makes Clinica Verde special to you?

One story among many was when we organized a team to bring clothes and food for patients who touched our hearts. They were so happy to see the human side of the Clinica Verde team!

Another story that moved me was when an 83-year-old widow whose children had died was begging in the street. She came to the clinic very tired, with her clothes torn. As she entered the clinic she fell down, and everyone came running to help her up and get her on a gurney. Dr. Varela took care of her and she told us her story crying, and said that every time she fell down in the past, nobody ever picked her up – but here everyone came to her help. This is Clinica Verde. We aid those who are helpless and alone.

What are your goals for the future?

My goals for the future are to continue working at Clinica Verde and to get better at my work, to finish my university studies, to be a quality professional without forgetting my roots and never forgetting that thanks to Clinica Verde I am in university, I am a better daughter, and a better person. One day I would also like to have my own family.

Is there anything you’d like to say to Clinica Verde’s friends and supporters?

I would like to thank everyone who supports Clinica Verde for noticing one of the poorest countries in Latin America. You are angels to the people of Boaco and many places beyond. Thank you for helping those in need, for the time you give this beautiful cause without expecting anything in return. I hope that God blesses you and increases the good health for you and your families. Thank you for giving me this work. I will never take advantage of it, and I promise to take care of the beautiful dream that became a reality.

• • •

In 2013 we ...

• Served over 14,000 patients 

• Performed 164 Pap tests and 216 VIA's (precancerous screenings) on women 

• Performed 1,895 growth and development consults on children under the age of 5 

• Served 952 new pregnancies 

• Gave 767 vaccines to children and pregnant women: Rotavirus, 103; Polio, 148; Pentavlent, 103; Pneumococcal, 103; DT (diptheria/tetanus), 177; MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), 128; DPT (diptheria, pertussis y tetanus), 5

• • •

CV: A GuideStar Gold Participant

Did you know that Clinica Verde was recognized as a GuideStar Exchange Gold Participant? That means we've received the highest rating for nonprofit transparency: GuideStar Exchange Gold 

Please consider Clinica Verde for your end-of-year giving! Many thanks for your support. Wishing prosperity and health for all in 2014!

Proud to serve at Clinica Verde!
Proud to serve at Clinica Verde!
Roniels
Roniels

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.

• • •

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!

Ana Urbina and her granddaughter Frangie.
Ana Urbina and her granddaughter Frangie.

 

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.

Frangie.
Frangie.
Eusebia Rodriguez
Eusebia Rodriguez

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!

Saludos,

Susan


The Waiting Room of Clinica Verde.
The Waiting Room of Clinica Verde.
Young mother at Clinica Verde.
Young mother at Clinica Verde.
 

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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

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