The mobile medical clinic donated by the International Medical Outreach Program (IMO), a collaboration between Atrium Health and Heineman Medical Outreach, Inc. was inaugurated a little over a year ago. The mobile unit is stationed and managed by the Coen Foundation’s William Montealegre Clinic in Chinandega. It is used to provide a range of primary care and specialty medical services, and health education for children.
Initially, the mobile clinic served approximately 400 patients per month. This year, there were 626 consultation in February and 760 in March. Comparing the average of the first quarter of 2016 with the average of 2017, the number of consultations has increased by 29%. No question that the efficiency and impact of the mobile unit continues to increase.
Through the consultations provided by the mobile clinic in 2016, healthcare providers were able to identify the need to attend to children who were significantly underweight. Thanks to the support of the Association of Friends of the Coen Foundation based in Italy, a child nutrition project will serve 50 children under 5 years old in communities where the mobile clinic visits. This program is going to last throughout 2017.
This year, even more exciting news is that the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health (MINSA) has graciously agreed to support the laboratory testing of pap smears for woman, at no charge, through the mobile clinic. This is also being extended to cervical cancer testing as well.
Once again, we extend our deepest appreciation to the Bissell Family Foundation for its support to help refurbish and put the mobile clinic in action.
Representatives from Atrium Health joined public health officials and government representatives in Chinandega, Nicaragua, for the official opening of a mobile medical clinic donated by the International Medical Outreach (IMO) program, a collaboration between the System and the Heineman Foundation of Charlotte.
The lab is a large, mobile unit used to provide a range of primary care and specialty medical services, including women’s health care, heart disease and glucose testing. The clinic will be stationed at and managed by the Coen Foundation’s William Montealegre Clinic in Chinandega and will be moved to different areas of the country to provide care in rural communities in need.
“These communities have no adequate health services and their access to primary care represent mobilization costs that cannot be afforded for them. We aim to bring them closer to a healthier life with this integrated program that combines health care and preventative education” said Piero P. Coen, President of Coen’s Foundation.
Chinandega is Nicaragua’s fifth largest city, with a population of more than 121,700. Healthcare is delivered primarily through Hospital España, which serves nearly all residents along the West Coast of the country. The Coen Foundation clinic will provide continuous staffing of the mobile unit, and the IMO program will send medical teams from Charlotte to help as needed.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to help Nicaragua’s medical facilities enhance their services and deliver more up-to-date healthcare to those who need it most,” said Francis Robicsek, MD, PhD, vice president of the IMO Program. “We hope this donation reduces barriers to healthcare access and helps the city of Chinandega offer sustainable services for years to come.”
Since 2008, the IMO program has led projects aimed at improving the health of adult and pediatric patients in Nicaragua. Its first project was to repair and replace equipment in the Intensive Care Unit at La Mascota Pediatric Hospital, Nicaragua’s only pediatric facility. That same year, the program helped rebuild the country’s only cardiac catheterization (cath) laboratory, which was broken and remained unused since 2003. In 2012, it donated a mobile cath lab to the Nicaragua’s national heart center in Managua.