Playing a supporting role
When doctors and nurses from Bainbridge began treating patients on Ometepe in 1991, the island had only a single doctor. Today, the Ompetepe medical system has grown to include nine health posts—each with a doctor, a nurse and an auxiliary nurse—and two larger health centers, all of which provide free care. Our Health Committee’s focus has shifted, too. Rather than providing direct care, committee members today work to support the Ometepe’s own health care providers.
In 2009, the committee sponsored a Health Delegation to Ometepe to establish new relationships among Bainbridge and Ometepe health providers, as well as to reinforce existing relationships. The result was a two-phase grant project open to all the Health Ministry centers. The first phase, completed in 2010, focused on improvements to infrastructure, such as providing working sinks and bathrooms. Phase 2, which was discussed during a return delegation in early 2011, will support health education through the acquisition of resources, such as reference manuals, and assistance for university studies and workshops.
In addition, the Health Committee sponsors these projects:
- Scholarships for seven health care workers pursuing degrees in nursing as they continu to work for the health ministry. The nurses completed their schooling at the end of 2010 and are working in 2011 to complete final requirements for their degrees.
- Weekend pay for an ambulance driver who works for the health ministry. This ensures emergency transport services at all hours, seven days a week.
- A milk and nutrition program for children ages 3 to 6 in Balgüe. Primary support for this project comes from Project Bona Fide. The children arrive each morning at a community center where they wash their hands and then receive a glass of milk, an egg, a vitamin, and fruit, depending on the season. After they eat, they brush their teeth.
- An annual contribution to Proyecto Ometepe Alemania, a German group that operates a free clinic in Santo Domingo. The Sister Islands’ money goes primarily to help patients purchase medicines or travel to the mainland for specialized care.
Read a student delegate’s impression of the 2009 Health Delegation.
If you would like to become involved in the Health Committee’s work or support its projects, please contact the committee chair, Lynn Oliver, using this form.
If you live on Bainbridge, please remember the Sister Islands Association when you respond to One Call for All. We use our share to support delegate travel to and from Ometepe.