Yale School of Nursing, Yale University's Graduate Nursing Programs

Yale School of Nursing

In Nicaragua, A Little Help Goes a Long Way

April 1, 2011

Mural.The community of Managua, Nicaragua, looks forward to seeing the Yale Nurses who come every year. Around eight students as well as two professors travel to Managua annually to offer medical help and services. They not only give medical treatment; they also have a health fair, give demonstrations, and teach the community about nutrition and exercise.

"At first it was a little bit challenging getting used to the customs of the community," noted YSN Assistant Professor Mikki Meadows–Oliver, one of the professors who travels with the students every year. "We had to change our way of thinking because of the lack of resources."

YSN first became invested in the Managua community through an American couple that lives there. The couple reached out to YSN Professor Pat Jackson Allen because the school the couple sponsored needed assistance with health care issues.

New facade for school.

In order to raise money for the medical supplies, this group of dedicated volunteers uses every outlet available. "We have a lot of bake sales, we host a silent auction, and the students come up with other ways to fundraise," Meadows-Oliver stated.

They have had success with the fundraising; the silent auction alone raised $1,100. The money doesn't all go to the supplies; a portion is given to the community to pay for medical follow–up care.

The group is also fortunate enough to receive donations. "People donate school supplies as well as small every day medical supplies like band aids and toiletries," Meadows-Oliver added.

After four years of volunteering, the results are already showing. "We are seeing a decrease in respiratory illness, skin infections, as well as less cases of lice," commented Meadows-Oliver. "These are all major health care concerns in Managua."

Children receiving health screenings.