If the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted any valuable lessons for the world to heed, it certainly includes the need to increase investments in improving the healthcare systems across our borders. As reflected globally, women, children, the elderly, and low-income households battle institutionalized healthcare inequities. Marginalized communities are most vulnerable with less access to suitable healthcare services. However, private organizations and non-profit groups have adopted the mantle to counteract these hurdles through their charitable donations and services.
In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a population of 4.3 million for the nation of Panama, with approximately 14% of its’ residents living in abject poverty. Rural and indigenous inhabitants suffer from a range of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) including Malaria, Dengue, and Hookworm, with non-communicable diseases accounting for 76% of the nation’s annual fatalities. Many of these illnesses are manageable with basic healthcare resources and education, however, successful ongoing treatment is impossible without the financial and philosophical support of organizations focused on addressing the inequities that enable these problems to exist in the first place.
Santiago Panama Mission Adventures (SPMA), a Christian-based nonprofit established in Lubbock, TX, in 2019, provides much needed medical aid to the citizens of Panama. Early this year, MedGyn Products, Inc. partnered with SPMA to supply LED Disposable Speculums and provide support for communities in need throughout the region. The SPMA organization was able to restock medical mobile dispensaries, open clinics in two mountain villages, and provide up to 50 patients per day with basic vitamins, anti-parasitics, and NSAIDs. A surplus of speculums for in-person examinations now exists throughout Santa Fe, Veraguas. SPMA was able to dispense cough & cold remedies, and refill diabetic and antihypertensive medications, as needed. Doctors also performed pelvic exams for women who were told they had either “aged-out” of the need for a Pap smear test, or that they had received a sufficient number of negative results, negating the need for any future annual examinations. The SPMA crew also educated individuals on pending body changes, and body image issues.
(Nurse Nancy dispensed thousands of medications during her stay in Panama)
(Image of a family that walked three miles over the Santa Fe mountains to receive SPMA medical care)
Addressing the inadequacies within healthcare systems can be a daunting task for any individual or governing body. Many institutions throughout the world are making great strides in providing basic services, with the ever–present need to do much more. However insurmountable progress may seem, it is the actions of organizations like Santiago Panama Mission Adventures that can provide optimism for those hoping to see change. Learn more about SPMA’s charitable adventures in Panama and elsewhere! As they have shown us, every bit of support goes a long way.
(Resources: World Health Organization, Global Nutrition Report, UNICEF)