Improving healthcare in Nicaragua

Carla’s Story

Nurse Carla working in her remote village in Nicaragua.

The indomitable nurse Carla comes from the remote village of Monkey Point in Nicaragua. Through her efforts, the health clinic there has been transformed from a crumbling wreck into a clean, safe place where local people can get the care they need.

After training as a nurse, Carla lobbied for six years to return to her village and save the clinic. She told us, ‘I wanted to come home and help my community. I begged my boss to send me but he always said ‘no – there is no clinic there – it is completely derelict, the building leaks and you can’t work there.’

Carla persisted, and eventually the Ministry of Health granted her request. The clinic lived up to its reputation – it was a filthy shell of a building with no lights, no doors between rooms, no desk to work on, and smashed windows. But Carla was undeterred. She managed to clean and repair the broken building, helped by community members inspired by her determination to help them.

The people of Monkey Point now had a health centre. However, there were certain things Carla was unable to fix. She had no way of powering lights for the centre, making it unsafe to treat people at night. She also had no fridge, meaning she couldn’t store crucial medical equipment such as vaccines and HIV tests.

In 2010 Carla was unable to save a young girl from a poisonous snakebite because without a fridge, she couldn’t store anti-venom. She was devastated – after all her efforts she still had to endure ‘a life cut short for want of a simple treatment’.

In 2011, all this changed. Renewable World and its partner organisation Blue Energy installed a solar power system for the centre, as well as lights, a fridge, and other medical equipment. At last, Carla could give people the excellent care she had always imagined. ‘I am happy, happy happy! When they told me about it in December I didn’t think it would happen but when the freezer arrived last week and the lights and sockets were installed it was like a dream come true!’

Carla at work.

Carla is the Monkey Point Health Centre. Without her years of effort, people in Monkey Point and its surrounding villages would be isolated and helpless when they fell ill. Thanks to her, they can be treated by a skilled professional in a well-supplied clinic. It has been an honour to work with her, and to help make her selfless dream into a reality.