Global Medical Brigades in Nicaragua!
What is Global Brigades?
Global Brigades is an international, student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Global Brigades takes a holistic developmental approach by collectively implementing health, economic, and educational initiatives to reach a community’s developmental goals in a sustainable fashion. The mission of Global Medical Brigades, one of Global Brigades’ nine programs (see https://www.globalbrigades.org/ for more information), is to provide sustained healthcare to under-served communities by improving access to healthcare for rural community members through the use of mobile-clinics. All Global Brigades activity is in full support with the host community.
Where will your donation go?
Last year, the group brought nearly $95,000 worth of medication to serve over 850 patients in Panama. Without the support of Global Brigades, its chapters, and its supporters, community members would have to travel a day or longer by foot to gain access to expensive, rudimentary health care.
Our medication and supplies are entirely fundraised. Each weekend, every brigader is part of our organized pharmacy drives where we engage the community and request donations of basic medical supplies. We also contact local organizations and pharmacies to donate medication, supplies, and devices. Our needs range from toothbrushes and toothpaste to antibiotics and anti-parasitic medication. We apply to several grants and scholarships and hold numerous events to raise necessary funds. Still, we find ourselves struggling to raise enough to provide full care to all of those that come to the clinic. Your contributions will go directly towards purchasing medication for the trip and supporting brigaders in their trip cost. By supporting Global Medical Brigades, you will provide students with a unique perspective of the culture of Nicaragua, as well as provide the basic right to health to thousands that need it most.
Tell me more!
Carnegie Mellon University’s chapter of Global Medical Brigades was established in 2009. In March 2017, we will go on our ninth brigade in Nicaragua.
The primary goal of the medical brigade is to provide basic medical care to villagers who would otherwise not have access to healthcare. Students interact directly with community members while taking vital signs, such as height, weight, and blood pressure. Students also shadow medical professionals, either physicians recruited from the United States or in-country doctors. Brigaders also work in the pharmacy where they fill the necessary prescriptions. Finally, students work in small workshops with community members to educate them about particular sanitation and general health practices. The group has found that interaction with the community creates meaningful connections that promote effective, personable, and culturally sensitive care. Brigaders attending the service trip are trained throughout the year on the Spanish language and culture. Through the group’s immersion in the communities, students gain insight into the cultural beliefs and perspectives of Nicaragua. This has always been an integral part of Global Brigades' mission. With a proper understanding of culture, we as a group are better able to address the needs of the community.
In the latter half of the brigade, the group will be participating in a public health service project. The group strives to address the illnesses seen in clinic at the source by engineering solutions that fit within the daily life of community members, therefore attacking the problem at its root. By building sanitation units, several illnesses linked to general hygiene can be dramatically reduced. For example, the construction of eco-friendly stoves helps rid lung diseases and cement flooring can reduce exposure to disease-causing parasites. All of these projects require the participation and financial support of community members. This allows the community to be personally invested in their own health and educates them on proper maintenance of these facilities.
*Thank you to Global Medical Brigades for some of the footage used in our video*
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