The need of the ngöbe - short documentary

Set apart from the mainland, the secluded islands off the Eastern coast of Panama are home to Ngöbe tribe. Rich in greenery with breathtaking landscapes, these beautiful islands have very few resources and limited capacity to grow nutrient-rich foods, which contributes to the poor health of the community.

By Amber McEldowney

The Vitamin Angels team visited one of our partners in Panama, Floating Doctors, in 2015. Dr. Ben La Brot first reached out to us in 2012 with a request to bring vitamins and deworming treatments to the largest indigenous tribe in the country – The Ngöbe (pronounced “know-bay”). By teaming up with organizations like Floating Doctors, we're aiming to ensure that even the hardest to reach mothers and children are getting the vitamins they need to live healthier lives. 

Watch this short documentary about the need of the Ngöbe and the work we’re doing with Dr. La Brot and Floating Doctors, and scroll to read Dr. La Brot's recent letter to us about how vitamins continue to make a difference: 

2018 UPDATE: Nearly six years have passed since we first started working with Floating Doctors, but their tireless work is still changing lives every day. We're proud to support their efforts and provide vitamins for the children and mothers they serve! Check out what Dr. La Brot had to say in a recent message to us:

"A lot of the kids in this village have grown up on vitamins for almost their entire lives, and compared to five years ago the community is much healthier and the kids are much more robust. It will be interesting to see if this generation will all be taller than their parents, who had much more limited nutrition during their childhoods.

'Failure to thrive' and specific macronutrient deficiencies used to be a more common diagnosis in this region, but with better nutritive support this is being pushed back. Having vitamins is incredibly valuable because all of our patients culturally value the nutritive support that comes from vitamins. And the fact that virtually every single child that comes through our clinics leaves with a six-month supply of vitamins means that people will come from miles around and wait to be attended, so their kids will receive vitamins.

Of course, this also gives us a great opportunity to check the kids and parents for other issues we can address, or to do health education about nutrition, handwashing or other health measures while people are waiting. That's another power of vitamins--they are a lot more than nutrition support. They have the power to bring patients to clinic and ensure that lots of other conditions get identified and taken care of. Thanks, Vitamin Angels!"

 

Through our partnership with Floating Doctors, we've given Ngöbe children under five 32,000 doses of vitamin A, 27,500 doses of deworming treatment, and 1.7 million doses of multivitamins. We've also given 476,000 doses of prenatal vitamins to Ngöbe mothers. 

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