To be seen by doctors and treated at our clinic in Nueva Vida, a patient must contribute to the community…they can either work (filling in mud puddles that are breeding mosquitos, cleaning trash off the streets, cleaning the yards of the schools, etc.) or they can contribute 30 córdobas (the equivalent of about $1.35), but frequently the elderly cannot work nor do they have family who can work on their behalf. The elderly tend to be destitute as well.
We were slow in finding the elderly patients who needed our help. Who has no family…who is destitute?
When our new health promoter, Jessenia, was settled into the Nueva Vida community and had the health promoters from each area reorganized and renewed, she took the challenge to the community to find 15 elderly patients we would see at no charge. It was easy and FAST…the community knew who needed our help.
Jessenia did an initial health and needs evaluation of all the patients, and then our volunteer nurse, Kim, went with Jessenia to see them. Seven of the 15 patients could not walk and so they needed rides the few blocks to the clinic.
We got all the patients to the clinic and evaluated by our doctor. Many have to take medications needed for chronic conditions. A few had acute problems but all, ALL, need to be evaluated on a regular basis and need to have access to a doctor. As soon as they all got to the clinic there were another five wanting to be in the program!
Now we are looking for funding to hire a nurse because, come August, Kim will leave to go on with her life. We feel that we are serving a population left out of the system as it currently exists.
Golda Meir (Israeli Founder and Prime Minister) said, “Old Age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you’re aboard, there’s nothing you can do.”
For the poor it is like flying in a hurricane, but if someone can help you get to the eye of the hurricane, then maybe you can rest some. -- Kathleen