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The Advance Project Profile: Acción Médica Cristiana - Nicaragua

 

Missionary Dr. Belinda Forbes oversees a dental procedure.
Missionary Dr. Belinda Forbes oversees a dental procedure.
COURTESY BELINDA FORBES

Orlando Jacobo Cristobal is Miskito indigenous and comes from the community of Dos Amigos on the Prinzapolka River in the remote part of the North Autonomous Atlantic Region of Nicaragua. Dos Amigos has 378 inhabitants living in 54 houses. Twenty years ago, the community held an assembly and elected Cristobal as a health leader. Since that time, he has participated in trainings offered by Acción Médica Cristiana (Advance #14846A) in first aid, dental extractions and administration of essential medicines.

The only medical doctor is in Alamikamba, hours away by rowboat, so health leaders along the river like Cristobal serve as local doctors, attending to primary care needs in their communities. He has participated in recent dental health refresher training workshops. In Cristobal's region, there is only one dentist for every 50,000 people, so his services are eagerly sought. In March, he joined a mobile dental team to the Prinzapolka River. Dr. Dean Gregson of Portland, Ore., brought members of his staff and family to help AMC serve six communities. Cristobal wore several hats during the trip: organizing patients, translating Miskito-Spanish and delivering health care to patients.

Cristobal is an extraordinary example of the community health system that AMC has been developing for more than 25 years. During our stay in Limbaikan, a sick patient arrived, carried by his family in a makeshift hammock. He was severely dehydrated, and his family had traveled six hours in a boat to get him to this community. The health leader was away, but his family provided the solution which Cristobal placed intravenously, monitoring the patient until he was well enough to go home the next day. This kind of first response has saved countless lives all across the regions where AMC is present.

No matter where they live, kids like new toothbrushes!
No matter where they live, kids like new toothbrushes!
COURTESY BELINDA FORBES

Dr. Belinda Forbes (Advance #12109Z) is a United Methodist missionary serving with Acción Médica Cristiana (Christian Medical Action), a Nicaraguan Christian ecumenical organization.