Leaky Roof and Shattered Windows: Juluchuca Health Clinic In Need

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Contribution by Malene Jakobsen, WWOOFer Volunteer and Nurse from Denmark.

IMG_1570Coming to Playa Viva feels like discovering a hidden treasure. Located right on the beach of the crystalline waters of the Pacific Ocean, Playa Viva seems to blend in perfectly with the natural exotic surroundings. One easily gets carried away here just contemplating how beautiful nature is and how wonderful life is in the midst of it all.

My objective in coming here is to experience this extraordinary place and also to do some voluntary work at Playa Viva or in the nearby community. Being a nurse from Denmark the possibility of working in the nearby medical clinic in the village Juluchuca seemed like the best use of my skills. Playa Viva arranged a brief meeting with the local doctor, Jenny, where I had a chance to meet her and see the clinic, and the following day I started working there.

The clinic provides medical assistance for about 1500 citizens from Juluchuca and surrounding villages. The doctor there works primarily on her own and has therefore many functions. Apart from doing the strictly medical treatments she also functions as a nurse and as a teacher giving lessons to the community about health issues such as hygiene, birth control,family planning, and the most common conditions such as parasites, diarrhoea and dehydration. The clinic also works as the local pharmacy handing out necessary prescription drugs and supplements. Each year a new doctor works there as part of the doctors education. During that year, the doctor lives in one of the rooms of the clinic and is therefore practically on duty 24/7.

The clinic got majorly damaged during the heavy rainfall of September 2013. The rain was coming in through the ceiling of every room there and it still does whenever it rains. Many of the windows are shattered which has the effect that everything inside the clinic quickly gets covered by a layer of dust. Most of the furniture inside is broken or damaged and several basic things are lacking such as an oxygen tank for e.g. pulmonary and asthmatic conditions and also a flushing toilet.

Yet the clinic is a very active and lively place. The treated patients often stay and have a chat with the other patients waiting in line, and in the evening the youth of Juluchuca gathers around because of the wireless Internet connection in the clinic; the only one in the village.

IMG_1559Several days of my first week there the doctor has held classes in health issues with different groups of women, who receive financial support. I have also helped her vaccinating many of these women with the tetanus and diphtheria vaccine. Yesterday the doctor and I were invited to have lunch at one of the patients’ restaurant on the beach. It was a wonderful experience and an amazing possibility to get to know a bit more about the local culture and the people who live here.

The clinic and the doctor clearly contributes in an essential way to the local community, both in terms of prevention and treatment, especially for the poorer population, but is definitely in the need of thorough reconstruction economic support.

NOTE from Playa Viva Team РWe are working with Malene and Jenny to develop a list of items that are needed, a set of repairs that need to be done and resources necessary to improve the clinic.  Stay tuned for more details. The goal, like our school improvement project, is to work with the locals to provide labor while we provide the needed resources to team up with guests and make needed improvements. If you will be at Playa Viva in the Winter and Spring of 2014 and would like to assist in improving the clinic, please let us know. All ideas welcome. 

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