Archive for Nicaragua

Introducing Dr. Incer …

 

From left, Boaco Mayor Vivian Orozco, former Minister of Health Margarita Gurdian, Dr. Armando Incer and Rafael Rios.

From left, Boaco Mayor Vivian Orozco, former Minister of Health Margarita Gurdián, Dr. Armando Incer and Rafael Rios.

 

The photo above is from October of 2007, when we held the first annual meeting of the board of directors of  Clínica Verde in Managua, Nicaragua. Third from the left is Dr. Armando Incer, one of our advisors and a key person to the development of our clinic in the community of Boaco. Below, a brief introduction to Dr. Incer:

Tell me about your family and your history in Boaco as physicans.

My family’s roots are in (the city of) Boaco. In Nicaragua, the surname Incer is connected with this city.

My parents have been key to the development of the city, and from them I’ve learned the good things that I hold dear. I learned the importance of believing in God, the importance of family, love of work, the value of integrity. They taught me to love Boaco, and the importance of giving your best to reach your goals.

My father was the first doctor from Boaco to graduate in Nicaragua. He was the family doctor for Boaco families in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Last year he celebrated 50 years of working in this capacity.

My mother is the great woman who has stood behind my father and behind every one of her children.

 What is your vision for Clínica Verde?

I see a modern clinic where rural women and their children can come for health and smiles, being attended by qualified professionals who understand the importance of these patients receiving free, high quality service that allows all users to leave with the certainty that Clínica Verde has provided hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

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Habla un poco de tu familia y su historia médica en Boaco.

Las raices de mi familia estan en Boaco. En Nicaragua el apellido Incer se relaciona con esta ciudad.

Mis padres han sido personas claves en el desarrollo de la ciudad. De ellos aprendí las cosas buenas que tengo. Aprendí la importancia de creer en Dios, la importancia de una familia, el amor al trabajo, el valor de la honradez. Me enseñaron a querer a Boaco, y la importancia de dar lo mejor para alcanzar las metas.

Mi padre fue el primer médico Boaqueño graduado en Nicaragua, fue el médico de cabecera de las familias boaqueñas en las decadas del 60 y 70, y el proximo año cumplira 50 años de ejercer esta profesión.

Mi madre ha sido la Gran Mujer que ha estado detrás de mi padre y detrás de cada uno de sus hijos.

Cual es tu visión de Clínica Verde?

Yo imagino una clínica moderna, a la que llegan mujeres campesinas y sus niños en busca de salud y sonrisas, siendo atendidos por personal calificado que sabe la importancia que tiene para sus pacientes recibir servicios gratuitos, pero de calidad que permiten que al final de la jornada todos los usuarios se despidan con la seguridad de que La Clínica Verde les ha dado la esperanza de que desde ya tienen un mañana mejor.

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Why Nicaragua?

People often ask us, “Why Nicaragua?” The answer to that, in truth, begins in the 1970′s. My grandfather, a journalist, traveled to Nicaragua with my grandmother and became friends with members of the press in that country during the Somoza dictatorship, when newspapers were routinely censored and journalists often lived under the threat of death. As chairman of the Freedom of Information Committee of the Inter-American Press Association (and, later, its president), my grandpa worked throughout Latin America to advocate for and uphold the values of a free press. I grew up hearing about these stories as the background to Sunday meals, with copies of Spanish-language newspapers common in my grandparents’ home in small-town Ohio.

My first job out of college was at the Tico Times in San Jose, Costa Rica, an English-language newspaper operated by the wonderful Dyer Family – Richard, and his daughter Dery (who still runs the paper today). During that post-college year, I traveled to Nicaragua for the 1990 presidential election between Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua’s current president) and Violeta Chamorro. Those few days I spent in Nicaragua left a powerful impression on me.

Some 15 years later, my husband and I, now living in California, met Jake Scheideman, the owner of a bike shop in our town who was involved in humanitarian work in the village of Empalme de Boaco, Nicaragua. Jake and his group had – and has – accomplished great things. What began with the dream of creating a baseball field for this dusty, impoverished town, led to the construction of 60 homes for low-income families, a high school, and now a community program for jobs and long-term sustainability. We met Jake and said, “Take us with you.”

That meeting took me further down the road that led to Clínica Verde. After my husband Tim, a physician, and I traveled with Jake’s group we decided to lead efforts to help the local hospital in Boaco. With the generous support of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency – and donations from friends and family – in November of 2006 we delivered a shipping container of medical equipment and supplies valued at over $500,000 to the hospital in Boaco.

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We felt good about helping out (and sent another container the following year), but that experience also led us to believe that we could – and should – do more. We realized that sending equipment and medications, while helpful, would never lead to systemic change in that community. If we truly wanted to change lives, we would have to be willing to make a deeper commitment. So we enlisted the help of the Minister of Health, who connected us to key people working in the field of health in Boaco, put together a bi-national board of people qualified to get a big idea off the ground, and founded Clínica Verde.

Our vision is for a clinic that is not only environmentally – but socially – sustainable. It will be operated and managed by Nicaraguan health care workers with oversight by our American doctors and board of directors. We will provide not just outpatient clinical care for families in need, but also education on nutrition, general health and hygiene, and economic agency. You can check out digital images, floor plans and elevations on the Vision page of our web site.

In all of this, we’re grateful for the work of Jake Scheideman and his group, Developing Communities, for introducing us to the department of Boaco and showing by example that big ideas can be accomplished. We’re especially thankful for getting to know Peter Stanley, the man responsible for overseeing the construction of the homes and school for Developing Communities in Nicaragua. Peter is now Vice Chairman of Clínica Verde and key to our success.

So, why Nicaragua? Our lives led us to this path, but there is clearly a great need. Nicaragua is the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. It has one of the highest rates of adolescent fertility in Latin America, with almost half of all pregnancies occurring in women between the ages of 15 and 19. One in 5 children is chronically malnourished; in rural areas, that number is often 50% higher. Diarrhea and upper respiratory infections are the two most prevalent diseases in children under 5, linked to low access to safe water. In the department of Boaco and Matagalpa, where Clinica Verde will serve, there are more than 85,000 women of fertile age and more than 73,000 children age 5 and under. We think we’re starting in the right place.

               

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