It is with joy and appreciation that I write this message to share with you the mission of Los Chavalitos and how the support from the Countryside congregation helps to keep the clinic’s outreach alive.
Conceived by a group of five idealistic young Nicaraguan physicians, La Clinica Chavalitos (“chavalitos” is a Spanish term for “kids”) came to life in September 1994 when it opened its doors to the impoverished communities in Managua, Nicaragua. Generous funding from Countryside Community Church and the Omaha Suburban Rotary Club brought to reality the dream of these visionary doctors, then still in training.
Since its inception 26 years ago, Los Chavalitos has served thousands of patients, the majority of them residing in nearby poverty-ridden barrios (neighborhoods). The focus of the clinic has evolved into a strong community outreach, with an active casa base (base house) program and physician services offered in the clinic five days per week. Dr. Patricia Largaespada, the clinic’s medical director, makes frequent visits to the 18 base houses that participate in the program.
The 18 female owners of the base houses are respected members and leaders of their communities. They receive ongoing training and support from Los Chavalitos in recognizing and treating early signs of diarrhea, pneumonia, dengue fever, and other common diseases. They are supplied with suero (oral rehydration salts), which can be dispensed with instructions to the caretakers of the dehydrated children. This easy access to advice and the oral rehydration salts relieves the families of spending precious time and money to travel by bus to a medical clinic for the same care. By offering this life-saving service at no cost and in a convenient manner, a subtle, but important positive impact is made on the health status of the base house communities.
In the upcoming weeks, I will have the opportunity to share with you in greater detail the services of Los Chavalitos and the results of its proactive health programs. Los Chavalitos can continue this important work and its positive impact on the communities that it serves through Countryside’s hand of care to its neighbor in Nicaragua. This is a mission that makes a difference.
Sara Pirtle, MBA
President and Volunteer Coordinator, APUSAN-US