Dr. Laura Parajón (pictured above on the right) runs AMOS Health & Hope out of Managua, Nicaragua's capital and largest city. But when we spoke to her by video conference, she answered the call from Antigua, Guatemala where she was attending a USAID conference.
Recently, Nicaragua has been experiencing civil unrest, and the AMOS team had to scale back some of their efforts temporarily to keep their staff safe, but are now back normal operations. “Civil unrest is difficult because while amazing organizations like Vitamin Angels provide us with the commodities we need to get out to thecommunities, the staff also need support to get out there to deliver the commodities. The political and economic crisis is making it more difficult and costly for us to deliver medicines to the people who need them the most—and that’s what is sad.”
But if anything, times of unrest highlight the sustainable impact of AMOS Health & Hope’s work. The health-based nonprofit and Vitamin Angels field partner seek to improve medical care and health practices in impoverished parts of Nicaragua, working closely with health workers, or promotores, from each community they serve. The health workers are elected by their neighbors and highly respected within their communities.
“Health promoters are people with a third or fourth grade level of education, but who have a huge commitment to their communities,” Dr. Parajón shared. “Our primary health care teams (doctors and nurses) go out to remote communities in a four-wheel-drive vehicle that is needed because the roads are so rough. Our teams provide support and training, so the health workers can provide basic healthcare services for their communities.” Building self-sufficient programs and developing rapport within multiple communities is a long-term investment. Dr. Parajón and her team have allocated many hours and resources not only to travel to those areas, but also to train, periodically check in with the health workers, and replenish supplies. While times of turmoil threaten the team’s ability to make these trips, Dr. Parajón is confident in the health workers’ preparedness to address a wide range of health issues.