With a goal to implement holistic and sustainable health initiatives in undeveloped countries of Central America, California State University East Bay (CSUEB) pre-health professional students traveled to the Jinotega region of Nicaragua this past summer. The students belong to California State University East Bay’s Global Brigades Chapter.
In just three days, with the help of three native Nicaraguan doctors and one native Nicaraguan dentist, the students from CSUEB were able to provide medical and dental services to 750 patients in the rural community of Los Robles. A majority of the patients traveled far distances to receive the much needed care. Utilizing the dental supplies in the 15 health kits provided by the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, the team was able to complete extractions, fluoride treatments and cleanings. Since the team did not have a set location to complete dental procedures, one community member volunteered her home.
Initially, the team was shocked that they were setting up both their dental station and pharmacy inside a home, however, the family graciously welcomed them so that the team could serve the community at large. Thankfully, Dr. Juan Ramirez brought his own patient chair, dental tools and assistant. It was a bit difficult to move around the house because a lot was going on in a small space with minimal light, but it turned out to be a great success.
“On the last day of our public health project, when one of the families thanked us by singing and playing regional Nicaraguan instruments, the music drew many people to one house which created a great feeling of community. For me, it was the most memorable moment of our trip because I could feel gratitude radiating through their music,” recalled one team member, Angela. “It was evident that we had made a lasting impact on these families by constructing sanitation stations that would give the families access to a septic tank and a centralized shower and toilet.”
After this trip, it was clear to the students that the Nicaraguan people lack access to medical and dental services and rely heavily on international non-profit organizations like Global Brigades to provide these services at no cost. With the help of the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, the California State University East Bay students alleviated an immense amount of pain and suffering in these communities.