About the Community
The village of Limón is located 20 miles southeast of the city of Rivas in the Pacific lowlands region of Nicaragua. The region is popular for coastal tourism, namely surfing, and is known for its colonial heritage, beach communities, mountains, and volcanoes. Directly outside the upscale resorts, however, are numerous impoverished communities which depend on medical care provided by overburdened government clinics.
As one of the most impoverished countries in the Americas, Nicaragua presents serious challenges related to health care. Nearly half of Nicaragua's population live below the poverty line and nearly half lack sustained access to proper sanitation. According to the World Health Organization, only 6.3% of Nicaragua's population carries health insurance. As a result, child illness and mortality rates are high for the region, and preventable or treatable conditions such as respiratory diseases, diarrhea, and malnutrition make up the main causes of death for children under five.
FIMRC's Project Limón brings medical care to children living in remote areas of rural Nicaragua through two distinct channels. The first is by forming collaborative partnerships with public and private clinics. The second is offering triage health care at its very own pediatric health clinic.
A partnership with the government health post in nearby Las Salinas serves as one of the bases from which FIMRC provides free pediatric care to 8 communities. The health post staffs a doctor and two nurses and maintains partnerships with other government entities. The community of Las Salinas has a well organized community leadership that supports the health clinic as well as outreach programs to local schools and homes. The Las Salinas Health Post provides primary care, emergency care, and health education to children and adults. In partnership with the health post, FIMRC aims to expand the program of free medical care for children while providing Global Health Volunteers the opportunity to serve the community alongside the medical staff in preventative health measures. Additionally, FIMRC's partnership with Hospital Gaspar Garcia, located in Rivas, affords Global Health Volunteers the opportunity to observe surgeons while getting a first-hand glimpse into the national public health system on a large scale.
The FIMRC pediatric health clinic is managed by the region's lone registered pediatrician, thanks to the successful recruiting efforts of Project Limón's Field Operations Manager. The clinic houses an administrative office, a patient waiting area, and a private consultation room for patients. FIMRC takes a holistic approach to providing access to all children in the region through clinical services as well as a comprehensive health outreach program. In an effort to reduce infant and child mortality, children 0 - 5 and expecting mothers are seen by the pediatrician. In addition, FIMRC staff is responsible for pre-natal and post-partum care that focuses on well child visits, health education and disease prevention. Health outreach includes but is not limited to house visits, an expecting mother health education group and special campaigns targeted at expecting mothers.
Project Limón welcomes volunteers traveling in groups of two to 16. Volunteer activities are arranged year-round, so please contact us with the dates you would like to travel!
The nature of the Nicaragua volunteer program will vary depending on the number of volunteers in each group, the length of the volunteer trip, respective proficiencies in Spanish, medical training, and the current needs of the community and the clinic. Regardless of the final itinerary, every volunteer mission will prove to be culturally and socially enlightening. Each volunteer will have the opportunity to examine Nicaragua’s systems of medical provision while learning about ways to address health care disparities in the developing world. Project Limón has grown over the past several years into a network of partnerships in and around Limón. Aside from the Las Salinas Clinic, volunteers are given the opportunity to visit and work at a nearby regional hospital, several elementary schools, and multiple neighboring clinics. To ensure that volunteer projects are relevant to local needs, exact itineraries are not finalized until the week prior to the program.
Volunteer activities are primarily focused on community outreach initiatives including administering vaccinations, combating Dengue fever, and conducting lice inspections. Preventative community health outreach is a major component of the service we provide to patients and families. Through this initiative, volunteers play a crucial role in delivering dynamic, engaging health education sessions to children and adults alike. Volunteers will host educational community discussions on a variety of general health topics such as basic hygiene, parasite prevention, and dental health.
FIMRC’s recently launched Pediatric Health Program provides a unique opportunity to experience acute and preventative healthcare through working alongside the physician, assisting with patient intake, creating and distributing health education materials, and streamlining data tracking and institutional memory practices. Volunteers may also have the opportunity to provide basic assistance at the Las Salinas Clinic, including taking vitals, working alongside nurses and pharmacists, and assisting in examinations at the discretion of the clinic’s physicians
Medical professionals are enthusiastically welcomed to join our program; volunteering tasks will be arranged based on medical area of expertise. While we strive to engage student volunteers in a medical capacity, FIMRC maintains the policy that all medical care must be delivered by qualified, trained medical professionals.
Many opportunities exist to shape an itinerary to individual interests, as FIMRC’s goal is to provide every volunteer a memorable, worthwhile experience that will instill lasting impressions about healthcare in developing communities.