University of South Florida Health students and faculty have spent the past few weeks working with MPI-Nicaragua on a brand new health initiative in the Cedro Galán community.
It all started nearly a year ago when a MPI summer intern/USF student and former MPI Program Director completed a needs assessment in the community which identified lack of healthcare as the most pressing problem. The needs assessment would eventually lead to a USF Health and MPI partnership to bring healthcare access to this community.
As a first step, USF Health and MPI combined their resources to find out what it would take to create a holistic and sustainable health project in the community. In a series of key informants interviews, MPI and USF Health asked for more information on the lack of access to care and for advice on creating a community-driven health initiative. What we got was not only invaluable information, but also a community prepared to take ownership of the project.
After coming to a more complete understanding of the health-related need in Cedro Galán and witnessing the community's passion for health improvement, MPI and USF Health resolved to help bring a primary care clinic to the community. On Monday, April 22nd, Dr. Robert Nelson of USF Health announced the plans for the clinic at a community-wide dinner in El Farito. Since then, we have all been working together to put the plan in motion.
Over the past two weeks, USF Health and MPI together facilitated the formation of a Community Advisory Board, made up of and elected by Cedro Galán community members. The Community Advisory Board will inform all decisions made by USF Health and MPI regarding the healthcare initiative, including the next step of hiring a physician. Currently, as their first activity, the Board is working with the Nicaraguan Foundation for Diabetes’ President to organize community health worker trainings in Cedro Galán.
Stay tuned as MPI and USF Health continue working hand-in-hand with the Cedro Galán community to bring a primary care clinic and health education to the area…