Clinica Medica Manna Project International has provided health care to the residents of Barrio Villa Virgen de Guadalupe since 2013, when this new community of 200 cinder-block homes was completed. A large number of the residents had been relocated from living inside Managua’s infamous garbage dump – a joint project of the city of Managua and the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development. Prior to its relocation, Clinica Medica, then known as Casa Base de Salud, operated inside the garbage dump to provide health care to residents of the dump. The clinic was forced to move out of the dump with just two days notice and their building was destroyed in order to repurpose the dump into a landfill and recycling plant.
Clinica Medica virtually had to begin again, operating first out of half of a small duplex in the new community, and then moving operations to a small house. While working out of a greatly reduced space and after reducing staff and services by 60%, the clinic had a much larger population to care for, as additional residents were relocated to Barrio Virgen de Guadalupe when their homes flooded. There are now 4,700 residents in this community and an additional 10,000 in the greater area the clinic serves. In 2017, patient enrollment exceeded 3,500; mostly women and children. Although other health clinics exist in the area, most residents prefer Clinica Medica; it is the only clinic open five days a week and that provides free medicine. The clinic provides general medical health care, obstetrics/gynecological services, and a feeding program for pregnant women and young children. The women greatly appreciate the quick turn-around in results of their PAP smears and the personal care given if follow-up is required; government clinics can take up to three months for results. The clinic is well respected in the community. So much so, the clinic is very close to needing to operate on a 40 hours per week basis.
Manna Project International, a U.S. non-profit which operates the clinic, has purchased land within the community on which to build a new clinic. Austin Samaritans has raised the money to build the clinic and has a Rotary grant to furnish it. They are waiting on obtaining title to the property, which can be a lengthy process in Nicaragua. Once constructed, the new clinic facility will allow for the expansion of medical services and staff. There are plans to add a general practitioner, a gynecologist, and a dentist. Generous donors to Austin Samaritans are providing funding for some of these positions.