The Jubilee House Community is a nonprofit organization with 40 years of experience working with the poor. Its Nicaraguan project, the Center for Development in Central America (CDCA), seeks to address human needs in the Western Hemisphere’s second poorest nation by working jointly with communities to achieve their own goals, rather than imposing outside projects. This involves community organization, a flexible approach to needs and priorities as they shift over time, identifying areas where the CDCA can be of service, and following through in those areas while empowering Nicaraguans and phasing out the need for external assistance. Since 1994, this work in Nicaragua has grown into the areas of sustainable economic development, sustainable agriculture, primary health care, education including public health education, and appropriate technology.
One of the CDCA’s longstanding projects is its health clinic, which has been run since 1999 in Nueva Vida, the neighbourhood created for 15,000 people made homeless after Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Over the past 20 years, the community’s health needs have changed from basic health care and medicines to more specialized care, due mainly to improved services being available through the Nicaraguan public health service, and the clinic has adapted its services accordingly.
The clinic has had over 45,000 new patients come through their doors in the 20 years it has been opened. All medications are provided free of charge by the clinic, including medicine for chronic illnesses such as asthma, hypertension, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy, as well as for acute illnesses such as infections, bacterial infections, parasites, etc.
The clinic also provides preventive care, such as well-child visits in the schools, birth control, maintenance inhalers, sealants in the dental clinic, screenings of cervical cancer through PAPs, and early treatment of abnormal PAP tests. The clinic organizes support groups for new mothers, parents of children with asthma, and talks on sexual health for teenagers, dental hygiene, diabetes, mosquito borne viruses, and, most recently, COVID-19.
Most of the patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension have an extremely difficult time understanding and taking their medications. The health clinic gives out pill counters and posters with charts for the patients, and checks when they come for their monthly visits to see the doctor, how much of the medications they have left or when they ran out. Crucially, health clinic staff go into the homes of these patients, checking on them and helping them in their homes to learn to take their medications.
The IQFA has supported various CDCA projects over the last 10 years. In 2020, IQFA granted €3500 to support the work of the Nueva Vida health clinic by providing partial pay for the services of a health promoter to assist with home visits to patients.