June 5: Outreach to a Nearby Clinic

We met with the local clinic (UNAP) in Mama Tingo to facilitate stronger ties between members of the clinic, the CHC (on behalf of Esfuerzo), HOMBRE, and SOMOS. We found out a lot about the clinic, specifically related to the availability and costs of their services. For example, a check-up is free for those with insurance. Those without insurance are requested to pay 25 pesos as a donation to maintain the services and resources at the clinic, but they are not required if they do not have the money. Complications arise after the check-up, as it is difficult for many to pay for medications and analyses and to keep track of medical records without proper documentation of the visit. This process of patient care, and especially the insurance issue, is made up of intricate levels of challenges that we will have to take more time to fully understand.

Looking for opportunities to establish more informed connections between the UNAP and the community, we first discussed in detail the current situation of the community and the flooding it experiences and showed the doctors a rough topographic map of the area. They made plans to meet with Lucy, the CHC member who is the health promoter for Paraiso, as she was unable to attend the meeting. In order to improve Esfuerzo’s access to the clinic’s resources, the doctors will address and encourage Lucy’s role as a liaison in assessing and communicating community needs. The clinic additionally made plans to send doctors to present educational programs for the community on chronic illnesses. This matched up well with the outcome of our meeting with the CHC a few days ago, in which we discussed the possibilities of an “orientation” programs to increase community knowledge of various chronic illnesses and of the health-care to which they have access. Having the doctors speak about these illnesses would be a huge victory for the CHC, and by extension, for the community they represent. Last, as a first step to resolving the issue of insurance, we discussed the idea of the CHC conducting a census within the community to discover who has insurance, what type they have, and other information. This census could then be presented to SENASA, the local insurance office, in order to come up with the best plan for enrollment.

Those at the clinic also expressed real enthusiasm for an Esfuerzo community center where they could hold these programs and perhaps run check-ups within the community. We left the meeting with a renewed readiness to explore this community center initiative, among many others previously mentioned. We also realized the necessity of strengthening communication and organization between the CHC and UNAP so that they can move forward with these plans together when SOMOS is not present. Both partners emphasized the importance of their connection and were grateful that SOMOS called the meeting, but ideally communication will be sustained through regular practice throughout the year so that the relationship can take a more concrete shape.