On a dusty dirt road in a remote corner of Nicaragua, a small building sits at the base of a hill. A tractor mows the land next door, separated by a wire and wood fence that children lean on to wave to the farmer as he passes by. The sun has just risen over the mountains, a beautiful blue skied day, and already the people are lined up at the Roberto Clemente-Santa Ana Health Clinic.
They are waiting for Dr. Flores and his team to give them vaccinations for anti-polio, Measles and Rubella, Diphtheria and Tetanus. Diseases that in the United States are practically non-existent or easily treatable, but here, that could be fatal.
The clinic staff works tirelessly, knowing that the small shot they give could save the life of Antonio, the elderly man who stops by every day just to say hello… or the six children of Diego and Maria, who have travelled over an hour to bring them there… or Teresa, the single mother who works as a maid to support her small son.
But they also know that not everyone who comes for a vaccination will receive one. There just simply isn’t enough to go around…
A Community in Need
The Roberto Clemente-Santa Ana Health Clinic treated more than 8,900 patients last year. 638 of these patients were able to receive vaccinations for the diseases I mentioned above.
The clinic is named after the late Roberto Clemente, star baseball player for the Pittsburg Pirates. Clemente lost his life in a plane crash while delivering supplies to earthquake-torn Nicaragua in 1972. He is a national hero in Nicaragua, and Dr. Flores and his team follow in his footsteps as they work for the people in the region.
The 1,140 square foot non-profit facility treats children, the elderly, and disabled for free. All other fees are determined by the patient’s ability to pay. But no one is ever turned away.
The 41 villages surrounding the clinic are full of one or two room shacks filled with families with several children. Families make around $5 a day farming, fishing, or doing construction. Some children don’t attend school because they can’t afford the $40 it would cost for uniforms and supplies, or get transportation.
The clinic has helped so many of these people, but sometimes our equipment and supplies just aren’t enough. We depend on individual donations, and need help to continue to improve and save the lives of thousands of people in the second poorest nation in the western hemisphere. Please click here to donate.
We Can’t Do it Without You
We are a small clinic, but it takes big hearts and generous donations to fulfill our promise to the Nicaraguan community who rely on us so much for basic and emergency healthcare.
Locals and tourists alike visit the clinic, which provides 24-hour combined on-site and on-call care every day of the week. They are treated for a wide variety of issues, from a simple cut to the birth of a child.
Before the clinic opened in 2004, many mothers gave birth in their own homes, if they didn’t have the time, money, or transportation to go to the closest hospital, 45 minutes away over bumpy dirt roads.
The current budget for 2009 is $130,000. This includes money for building supplies and maintenance of the clinic building and grounds… medical equipment and supplies, from operating tables down to cotton swabs… a variety of medicines and vaccinations… community outreach programs, volunteer work, and educating the locals on how to better take care of themselves… and salaries for our hardworking staff.
We would like to expand our location and add two more rooms for mini-surgery and medical examinations. The second room would also afford patients more privacy during gynecological exams and other procedures. And one day we hope to add another building to our grounds, as the need for space is great. (Donation amount needed to expand location: $10,000).
We’re also planning an outreach program called Medicina A Distancia. We will travel to the most remote areas of Nicaragua with a doctor and nurse to provide medical consultation and a mobile pharmacy at a very low cost to those who can’t travel. (Donation amount needed to run this program: $4,000 per month.) Please donate here.
With the many needed medicines, the low cost to free care, the additional medical staff we’ve added, and maintenance on the facility we are in constant need of operating funds just to stay open.
And it’s thanks to your donations that we are able to do even a fraction of what we do. Every penny you donate helps in a big way.
Just look at what we’ve been able to accomplish in the last year…
Doing Good, One Person at a Time
Like I mentioned above, we gave 638 vaccinations for anti-polio, MR, and DT, and shots of Vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency is a large concern in developing countries, according to the World Health Organization.
We also treated 812 children for parasite infections at four local schools, and implemented a campaign for cavity preventative care for 433 children in the area. We subcontracted dental services to a provider who visits twice a month.
Thanks to generous donations we have partially the money to start the process to procure an ambulance, a new SUV that will be converted into an ambulance. We still need other $8,000. The total cost is $34,000.
Perhaps one of our biggest accomplishments this last year was the coordination and implementation of Programa Silla de Ruedas, where together with the Wheelchair Foundation, we were able to buy 110 wheelchairs to donate to the community, hospitals, and other institutions. This was a huge challenge because of Nicaraguan government permits and other legal restrictions.
We’ve raised enough money to hire another doctor, expand our medicines in the pharmacy, and to build a waiting area/bus stop at the clinic gates for shelter from the sun, wind, and rain. We’ve also bought back up battery power so the clinic will always have electricity, as blackouts are frequent in the region.
We were also able to procure a small supply of Tamiflu in the wake of the outbreak of the H1N1 virus. Though the virus has not affected the area, we can be prepared for the possibility.
Our hardworking doctors and nurses have helped turn the Roberto Clemente-Santa Ana Clinic in to a model healthcare facility for the area. And we want to continue to add to that and make it so much more.
Providing the Missing Link
We’ve expanded beyond medical care to offer health education, English lessons, and educational supplies to the residents of the area. Prevention is the most effective health care, and we strive to provide that “missing link” so often found in other clinics of this type: simple education.
From its inception, the Roberto Clemente-Santa Ana Clinic has held regular education programs, including seminars on breast self-examination, prenatal care, nutrition, how to create better sanitary conditions at home, and other preventative health care issues.
But what is probably the most important part of our health education programs is our outreach to the youth. Boys and girls ages 12-20 meet regularly with Nurse Miranda to talk openly and honestly about issues facing young people, to promote well-being in the mind and body, and sustained health.
In addition, Dr. Flores visits local schools each month, passing out donated supplies of toothbrushes, books, pencils, and paper to the children.
We’ve received many requests for help and sponsorship from children, their parents, and young adults at the beginning of their careers. They work hard to further their lives and education, but in many cases children and young adults are not going to school because they can’t afford it, or are quitting because they need to work to support themselves and their families. And so the need for sponsorship is great.
We recently partnered with FIMRC (Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children). They bring volunteers with varied medical backgrounds to the clinic on a regular basis to train and support our medical team and provide public healthcare to the community.
We invite you too to become part of the volunteer program with FIMRC or directly with us. You don’t even need to have healthcare experience; we welcome and appreciate anyone who wants to help in any way.
A Little Goes a Long Way…
And a lot…well that’s life changing. Here’s an example of how your generous donation would help:
- $250 will help in adding much needed medicines to our pharmacy for people who might otherwise never have access to them, plus other crucial medical equipment that might mean the difference between life and death.
- $500 can greatly help us with our plan to expand our facilities, to create the two new rooms we need, and help bring a design for a new building to life.
- $1000 can go toward our Medicina A Distancia outreach program that goes beyond the immediate community into the hard-to-reach rural villages.
Every dollar helps. The clinic simply cannot survive without your donations.
Unfortunately, charitable giving has experienced a downturn in the last year, especially in developing countries, due to the recession. The people in the nearby villages are worried that our doors will close like so many local businesses have had to do. But we’ve reassured them we have a long term commitment to improving health care and education in the region and we are determined to be there for them always.
But we need donations to realize that commitment. We do not have any large benefactors or grant money, we are still completely dependant on individual donations.
Imagine not being able to get the regular, routine medical attention you need. Imagine suffering from a chronic illness that requires medicine but not being able to get it, or even know it exists. Imagine you or your wife, sister, daughter, not being able to give birth in a clean and safe environment. Imagine having trouble breathing and no access to oxygen. Imagine working so hard to better your life, but because of where you were born it’s next to impossible.
In Nicaragua, there are no 911 emergency services so people often must travel several hours, sometimes on foot, to get to the Clinic.
If you think of all that we really do have in our lives – the basic necessities for living healthy, comfortable lives – you’ll probably think as I do, that we’re so lucky to be in a position to help those less fortunate.
Because even with all the economic woes our country and we as individuals may be facing, it’s nothing compared to what some citizens of Nicaragua have seen their whole lives.
This Community Needs Your Help
That’s why I’m coming to you. In hopes that you’ll take a moment out of your day to think of this community and do what you can to help.
Since the Roberto Clemente-Santa Ana Health Clinic is recognized as exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, donations are 100% tax deductable.
With a donation of $1,000 or more, we would like to place your name on a plaque at the Clinic, and send you a special handmade gift from Nicaragua as our thank you. And if you donate $5,000, we’d like to thank you for your generosity with two free nights at the nearby Rancho Santana Resort on the stunning Pacific coast. If you’d like you could visit the Clinic while you’re there, to see exactly how much good your donation is doing.
No matter how much you give, your donation will have a tremendous impact on the thousands of people who visit the clinic each year. It will give newborn babies a better chance at life…it will give the elderly the care and relief they need to live out their lives in peace and comfort…and help everyone in between in big and small ways. The locals, the tourists, and the many Americans who live in the area.
Simply Put: your donation saves lives. Please donate here .
If you would like to send a check, please click here to print a form.
My Sincere Thanks,
Julia C. Guth
The Roberto Clemente- Santa Ana Health Clinic
P.S. Now when you donate, the clinic will receive twice as much, thanks to The Oxford Club. They have generously agreed to match your donations, turning a $100 donation into $200, $1000 into $2000, $5,000 into $10,000. The more you give, the more the clinic benefits. We will immediately send you a receipt for your tax deduction.