Riscos de Oro Campaign, Nicaragua 2016
The medical campaign in 2013 in Riscos de Oro treated approximately 2,100 patients. The very successful follow up work in 2016, targeted between 2,100 and 2,500 beneficiaries.
The Foundation Campaign Committee responsible for planning this campaign includes:
- Angelica Farris, R.N., Founding Member of the Board of Directors
- Laura McAlear, Director of Campaign Operations and Member of the Board of Directors
- Duncan Miller, Committee Chair and Member of the Board of Directors
Our mining partner
The Ascenta Foundation partners with Canadian mining companies with operations in our target communities so that we can utilize the infrastructure and logistical support systems already in place. We rely heavily on these sponsor-companies to assist with clinic site selection, accommodations (i.e. room and board), transportation, communications, the assembly of volunteers and local partnerships, as well as during the government permitting process. For this campaign, Calibre Mining Corp. will again provide us with such logistical support, and will also join its partners IAMGold Corporation, Centerra Gold Inc. and B2 Gold Corp. in providing significant financial contributions to the campaign.
Calibre is currently doing exploration work in the area (drilling, trenching, and mapping). The objectives in conducting a medical campaign are to identify and treat as many cases of illnesses/injuries as possible and provide basic medical services to people who would not otherwise have access to it. A successful campaign would be one that benefits as many as 2,500 patients, especially from the most remote communities, where medical assistance is non-existent. Calibre is also interested in supporting a health projects that would have a long impact in the community (e.g. legacy project), such as a community water filtration system, or an extended health education campaign.
Health and Population Demographics
The community of Riscos de Oro is quite remote. It lays roughly 30 kms (an hour’s drive) northeast of Rosita, down a long, bumpy, dirt road. The village has a two-room facility used for medical assessment and birthing when a traveling nurse or doctor is able to visit the village. Otherwise, the closest medical facility is the Rosita hospital. The hospital is equipped to handle procedures, such as labour and delivery and minor general surgery. More serious attention must be sought in Managua, which is often a prohibitively expensive 90-minute flight south. The hospital in Rosita also housed a laboratory and a small pharmacy, which had limited medication and supplies. Equipment such as the x-ray machine, incubators, and autoclaves (used for cleaning tools) were in need of repair or replacement.
The population in Rosita in 2012 was composed of 43% children (0-14 years), 54% adults (15-59 years), and 4% seniors (60 years and above). Some of the most common illnesses in the area were: urinary tract infections, acute upper respiratory infections, parasites, gastritis, vaginosis, dermatitis, hypertension and arthritis.
During our 2013 campaign, we encountered a great many parasitic and bacterial infections requiring anti-parasitic and antibiotic medications. Cases included both adult and children, mostly likely due to the frequent consumption of infected water. In 2013, Calibre Mining installed a well on the school grounds providing clean water to Riscos de Oro and the neighboring villages. While we expect conditions will have improved due to this new well, we anticipate similar such infections.
Chronic malnutrition in children persists in rural areas and is twice that of children in urban areas. The risk of malnutrition is 6 times greater in the poorest quintile of the population compared to the wealthiest. In the past, we have witnessed the need of prenatal vitamins, children’s vitamins and supplements and expect this will again be in high demand.
Many residents in Riscos de Oro work outdoors in the agricultural field. A number of patients in 2013 received treatment for injuries and infections sustained while working. For instance, one patient sustained a significant wound above his right eye caused by the sharp edge of a branch that swung back from being cut with a machete. Others were treated for skin infections on their feet due to the lack of proper foot wear. We anticipate other similar types of trauma on the next medical campaign.
Respiratory ailments were a significant complaint. Much of the cooking is done in confined spaces over open fire causing smoke. Many of the respiratory conditions documented were likely caused by extended smoke inhalation. We intend to bring more bronchiolar inhalers and medications to assist with these conditions and improve symptoms.
In addition to the general medical concerns, the Ascenta Foundation clinics provide dental and optometry services. In our experience these areas provide the most immediate benefits to patients. Poor eyesight is easily corrected with the right prescription of glasses making a patient more productive and better equipped to achieve daily and work tasks. AF optometry clinics are equipped with the necessary tools to assess general eye health, establish a patient’s prescription and with glasses for all needs. The majority of patients seen in 2013 required reading glasses and correction for farsightedness (both adults and children). We encountered a few cases that would have benefited from cataract surgery, and while we are not equipped for such treatments ourselves, we can certainly identify these candidates for other specialized campaigns in the area. The same is true for cleft palate surgeries. It is our intention, whenever possible, to work with other organizations such as Operation Smile to see that patients receive the care they need.
Similarly, the dental clinic is equally important. In our 2013 campaign to Nicaragua we were only able to offer extractions. However in our 2014 campaign to Peru, we partnered with an NGO who was able to provide fillings, fluoride and extractions. Ascenta Foundation hopes to continue to offer these extended dental treatments going forward.
The Ascenta Foundation assembled a team of approximately 20 Canadian doctors, nurses and other professionals across our specialized clinic teams. We have found that each clinic requires a minimum of at least four or five volunteers to operate successfully. We again supplemented these volunteers with Nicaraguan professionals who volunteer their services and expertise. With an anticipated patient load of 2,500 people, our goal is to treat every single person in need – turning no one away.
 Statistics and common illnesses collected in 2012 by the Calibre team from the hospital and health authority in Nicaragua
 UNICEF, Nicaragua Country Program Document for 2013-2017, (UNICEF 2012): 3