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.