Bainbridge Ometepe Sister Islands

Building Friendships since 1986

Health

Playing a supporting role

Betania Lopez and Francela Williams , members of the 2014 health delegation to Bainbridge, both completed their nursing degrees through health committee scholarships.

Betania Lopez and Francela Williams , members of the 2014 health delegation to Bainbridge Island, both completed their nursing degrees through health committee scholarships.

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 Ometepe’s own health care providers.

Delegations of health providers to Ometepe in 2009 and 2011 and from Ometepe to Bainbridge Island in 2014 strengthened relationships and clarified ways in which Sister Islands’ funding can help. In recent years, the health committee provided grants to Ometepe health centers for improvements to infrastructure and for acquiring educational materials. Seven health care workers on Ometepe completed their nursing degrees through health committee scholarships.

Psycologist Karla Varela at a health fair on Ometepe, speaking about sexual abuse.

Psycologist Karla Varela at a health fair on Ometepe, speaking about sexual abuse.

    Current health committee projects include:

  • Support for a weekend ambulance driver so that ambulance transportation is available on weekends; and
  • 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.
Motheres and kids

A clinic run by Proyecto Ometepe Alemania provides physical therapy for children with special needs. A side benefit: The mothers have a chance to share tips with each other.

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.