In Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America, 40 percent of the population lives in rural communities.
Among other economic and social concerns, rural communities tend to be far removed from health care practitioners, and lacking in accessibility to care.
During our winter break from university, 12 nursing students from Fairfield University visited the rural region of north central Nicaragua. All of us have an interest in global public health nursing, and we were eager to use our knowledge to benefit people from one of the world’s neediest populations.
Upon our arrival, we were welcomed by the community in the Santa Maura coffee farm. Then, we set up and prepared to to give screenings at a local health clinic.
We worked collaboratively with the nurse at the onsite clinic. Through his guidance and with the screening kits from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation (HSCF), we were able to check 200 people for diabetes and high blood pressure.
We also provided many of the coffee farm workers with health education related to their Body Mass Index (BMI) and leading a healthy lifestyle.
Next, we were invited to visit a neighboring coffee farm, el Cairo, where we screened about 60% of the workers and families that live on that farm.
This farm is a bit more remote and does not have an onsite clinic.
Quite a few of the people we met there had never had their blood pressure or blood sugar checked.
In order to make sure that those who needed it could receive follow up care, we were able to connect many people with the nurse at the Santa Maura clinic.
Despite some of the challenges presented when delivering care in a rural community of a developing country like Nicaragua, the trip was a great success!