Fara Clinic opened in late 2010 and quickly became a healthcare hub. By the end of its first year, the outpatient clinic was seeing as many as 40 patients per day: women seeking cervical cancer screenings, children in need of inoculations, adults with severe vascular disease, dental patients. Services at our facility are virtually free — $1.25 for any visit, medical or dental. Unfortunately, many Matagalpans couldn’t afford the care otherwise.
We are particularly proud of the progress we’re making in prevention and early detection of cervical cancer — the number 1 killer of women over 30 in Nicaragua.
“Cervical cancer is preventable, and through our outreach programs and services at the clinic, we have tried to create a culture of women being aware of this potentially life-threatening disease,” says our co-founder Maria, a board member of Grounds for Health, a Vermont-based nonprofit focused on eradicating the disease in global coffee-growing communities. “It can be prevented with annual pap smear, or if the cells are pre-cancerous, we can treat it. So far, we’ve discovered 100 cases that would have developed into full-blown cervical cancer, which says we’re making progress in this area.”
Our clinic’s urogynecologist screens scores of women monthly for the disease, and, for those presenting with dysplasia of the cervical cells (or pre-cancerous cells), we provide treatment through cryo or LEEP therapy, both easy outpatient procedures.
Fara Clinic also hosts an on-going medical exchange with American specialists. Currently we are collaborating with two renowned vascular surgeons, Dr. Steven Reeder and Dr. Nick Morrison, both of whom are committing their staffs, time and expertise to the treatment of debilitating varicose vein disease, a common disorder among workers and laborers who spend long hours on their feet.
“We have help from some wonderful people,” one foundation staffer says. “Before we opened the clinic, we had Austin Smiles come down and perform cleft-palate surgeries, and now we’re working with vascular and cancer specialists from the United States. So, we’re creating a little network there.”
It’s difficult to translate these services into dollar (or cordoba, the currency of Nicaragua) amounts, but over the years in Matagalpa, our organization’s founders have provided hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars worth of in-kind donations and services to other facilities and groups, including regional hospitals and schools. But in late 2010, our dream of bridging American resources with the needs in Nicaragua reached a high point with Fara Clinic’s opening.