This past week has been a flurry of activity at the Waterbury office as Elisa helped me and August pack-up an absurdly large amount of supplies and training material into five enormous black suitcases destined for the northern highlands of Nicaragua. The fact that this will be my first trip since joining Grounds for Health as the new program manager in June heightened the usual mix of excitement and nervous anticipation leading up to Sunday’s departure.
This trip marks the official launch of a new three-year program in Madriz, Nicaragua. The program will be largely based in the municipality of San Juan del Rio Coco, where Grounds for Health has recently entered into partnership with four co-ops: UCPCO, UCA San Juan, Prodecoop and CORCASAN. Already, the four co-op coordinators at this new site have impressed us with their incredible management and organizational skills. From navigating the murky waters of local health regulations to coordinating food, housing and transportation for staff, volunteers and patients to shopping for essential supplies—this team of co-op coordinators has set the bar high for all involved, challenging us to make this program better than ever.
Working closely with our in-country staff, Barinia and Amanda, the in-country team has trained 34 community health promoters (CHPs) and has tasked them with raising awareness about the risks of cervical cancer and the importance of screening and early detection. With the CHP’s hard at work, the co-op coordinators turned their attention to hand-selecting a group of trusted doctors and nurses to attend next week’s level 1 training, which will emphasize the Single Visit Approach.
Over the next couple of weeks, GFH staff and volunteers will come together with co-op coordinators, local providers, and community health promoters to improve access to life-saving screen-and-treat services in rural communities. Check out our Facebook page and Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute updates.
Much more to come …