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Casa Blanca Healthcare Access

The Casa Blanca Community has had a health center for thirteen

years and employs two doctors, two nurses, and sixteen brigadistas.

The center operates from 8am to 4pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and

Thursdays. On Wednesdays and Fridays, nurses and brigadistas go

into the community to make house calls, update charts, and educate

community members on disease prevention. The health center is

closed on weekends. The doctors are available infrequently, ranging

from twice a week to once a month, depending on their call schedule

at the hospital in Estelí. All of the doctors and nurses have a formal

education. The health center was built by the US Marine Corps and

usually serves about 30-50 people a day. To prevent the clinic from

being overloaded, chronic patients are instructed to come 1-2 times

a month and different communities are scheduled on different days.

The average wait is about 1 hour for most patients and 20-30

minutes for priority patients such as pregnant women.

The health center is usually equipped to give vaccinations, pap

smears, pre- and post-natal pregnancy care, and family planning.

Ideally, the health center will receive medicines monthly from the

hospital, but this is not often the case. Because of the inconsistent

access to medications, the health center’s pharmacy is lacking

many medications, especially those for chronic patients.

Additionally, the pharmacy is held in an unlocked room. Without the

necessary staff they have no way of monitoring it, and the staff

have often caught people trying to steal medications. The health

center lacks other supplies, including latex gloves which the supply

usually only lasts 20-30 days. Another potential problem is the

storage of sterile items such as gauze, which they have in supply,

but not in a sterile location.   

In case of emergencies the health center sends patients to the

hospital by calling and asking for an ambulance to be sent. The

hospital is close to Pueblo Nuevo, located about 6 km away which is

15-20 minutes by car and 30 minutes by bus. The hospital only has

one ambulance, however, but it also has a truck that can be used in

case the ambulance is either in use or too far away. The

transportation provided by MINSA is free to the patient, but if the

emergency requires immediate attention or occurs at night, the

patient usually finds a neighbor or a taxi that will give them a ride.

They will usually charge the patient about C$200 for gas. If the

emergency occurs on the weekend when a health center official is

not working, the community leaders make sure to call the hospital.



Community Demographics

Las Mangas is home to about 614 people and has about 142 homes, with an average of 4 inhabitants per home. There are 70 children between the ages of 0 to 5 and 127 children between the ages of 6 to 14. This community is approximately 30 years old, and was founded when families near Honduras immigrated because of war and violence. 30% of the families are from Mapa, near Honduras, and the other 70% are from various regions around Casa Blanca.



Brigade Site Information

Medical brigades use the Casa Blanca health center as their brigade site. The intake, traige, and charla stations are held outside of the health center. The consultation rooms, dental station, and pharmacy are located inside the health center buildings.



Current Community Initiatives

There are currently no other community initiatives taking place in Casa Blanca. The Community Health Workers program is currently being developed in Nicaragua and will be initiated in this community in the near future.



Current Status

Last Visit: August 2015

This past August, a group of 23 students from the University of Birmingham participated in a brigade in Casa Blanca.


General Overview
Population 614
Number of Houses
Average # Persons Per House
Health Center
Brigade Site
Health Center
Most Common Illness Respiratory Problems
Most Recent Brigade Date July 2015


Additional Information
General Community Profile
Medical Methodology
Dental Methodology
Pre-Brigade Lesson Plans