On February 1st of this year, we officially began our CCM Medical Ministry. Dr. Ariana Cordero Morales became our full-time staff physician bringing her incredible skills and heart to see children come to faith in Christ. The goal was to provide a general checkup and basic medical care to all our sponsored children in 12 Nicaraguan communities.
COVID-19 created a challenging situation, but perseverance, caution, and by God's grace, we're excited to announce to we just completed medical checkups on all of our sponsored kids! ALMOST 800 of them!!
We keep detailed charts and records of each child including, BMI (weight), vision, dental, respiratory, skin, GI, infectious diseases, and much more. Additionally, Dr. Ariana's assessment factored in geographical locations, local economy, access to clean water, and food supplies. We're also happy to report that none of the children had COVID-19!
WE WANT THANK our sponsors for making this possible! You are helping parents fulfill the desire for their kids to have a better life. Your support is helping provide critical food supplies, education, and weekly Bible clubs where they learn about God, the One who loves and cares for them.
MEDICAL REPORT - September 2020
by Dr. Ariana Cordero, CCM Staff Physician
Emanuel has the highest percentage rate of malnourishment (12% = 3 children), given that this community has very few sponsored kids, the percentage rate is high, but Mount Zion and El Timal had 7 children in malnourishment. Since these two communities have more than 100 sponsored kids, that makes only 5-6%.
El Tunel has the highest percentage rate of well-nourished children (70%).
Eugenio Perez has the highest percentage rate of obesity (13%).
Certain communities such as Emmanuel, Mount Zion, and El Timal are more developed than others. This means that there are several stores inside the community and kids have access to other foods and snacks that may not nourish them, and as a consequence, they lose appetite for the real meals, as referred by the parents. The location of these communities has a lot to do with this aspect as well. Some of them are very near to the city, which means the parents have the possibility to get a decent job, which allows them to buy other foods for their kids. This could also be the case of Eugenio Perez. Several of the kids from the sponsorship program live in or near the city of Leon, which means there is high accessibility to all kinds of foods.
Another thing to consider is the cultural diet. It is very common to see meals that are high in carbohydrates, which can lead to overweight and obesity if they don´t have the right level of physical activity during the day. Other communities such as El Tunel, are close to high-risk areas for diseases, in this case, it is the Masaya dump. But even though this community is close to this environment, they had the highest percentage of well-nourished children. The problem is that, in the communities in general, many kids have to cook their own food because their parents are working, others are fed by other people (grandma or neighbor) for the same reason.
San Gabriel has the highest percentage rate of teeth damage (46%).
Mount Zion had the lowest percentage of teeth damage (14%).
The reason for this could be that San Gabriel is one of the poorest communities among the ones where CCM has worked. They have very little and difficult access to water and food. The jobs that most people have, don´t provide a big enough daily income for hygiene articles, it is mainly spent on food. Also, this community is located at a relatively far distance from the nearest city, which makes it harder for them to go to the store and buy everything they might need. On the other hand, Mount Zion is closer to other cities where people might have more access to visit a dentist o possibly just be able to take better care of their teeth at home.
Marvin Salazar has the highest rate of vision problems (48%).
Square 91 had the lowest rate of vision problems (0%)
It is hard to determine a cause for this, but a possibility is accessibility to television and screen devices. It could also be a genetic trait they inherited from their parents. A deeper study would be needed to justify these findings.
San Gabriel had the highest percentage rates in diseases overall. Out of the 51 diseases found among all the sponsored kids, 10 of these were found with the highest percentages in this community.
Renacer had the lowest percentage rates in diseases overall.
Marvin Salazar and Emanuel had the highest percentage rates in respiratory diseases.
Paradise and Square 91 had the highest percentage rates in gastrointestinal problems.
Eugenio Perez and Emmanuel had the highest percentage rates of skin issues.
Paradise and Rosario Murillo had the highest percentage rates of seasonal allergies.
Square 91 has the highest percentage rate of headaches, followed by San Gabriel.
After analyzing all the data, it is evident that the community with the most health issues in San Gabriel. This could be because of the high level of poverty found in this community, the lack of access to clean water, the need to share a latrine with several neighbors, or having to go into the woods. The water canal that goes through this community is an attraction for the kids to play there, and possibly wash clothes or bathe there. On the other hand, Renacer turned out to be the healthiest community, even though the conditions are fairly similar in both communities.
Regarding the respiratory issues, what Marvin Salazar and Emanuel have in common is that they are right on the edge of the main road. This means that the air pollution in those areas might be very high because of all the buses and trucks that drive through there. Also, it is very common in all communities for people to cook with firewood and burn their trash in their yards, which can also be a factor for the respiratory issues as well.
The gastrointestinal problem that was found with the highest rates in some communities was parasites. These communities were the first ones to be seen. At this point, the children had not yet been receiving parasite medicine periodically. Whereas the rest of the communities that were seen after the distribution of vitamins and parasite medicine had started, turned out to have lower rates of this specific disease. This was the case with Paradise. The biggest gastrointestinal issue found in Square 91 was gastritis. This is probably because the kids skip meals due to the long distances they need to travel to get anywhere, or they're just may not be enough food at home.
The skin issues found in Eugenio Perez were mainly skin allergies/rash and sunspots. As mentioned before several of the kids that attend the church in this community don´t live there. Many of them live in or near the city of Leon, which means they travel long distances under the sun to go to school or to church, or elsewhere. Also, Leon is known for being one of the hottest cities in the country, which may be the cause of heat rash on the children.
Seasonal allergies were found often throughout all the communities. But the fact that Rosario Murillo and Paradise had the highest percentages suggests that there could be an environmental factor in that area, given that the other communities nearby (Renacer and Marvin Salazar) have similar statistics regarding this category.
Square 91 turned out with the highest percentage of headaches, followed by San Gabriel. This could be partly because of the long distances these kids need to travel in order to go anywhere. This means they walk or bike long distances under the sun, which can very easily cause dehydration, and make this a very big possibility for their headaches. Also, the lack of water in these communities could be a reason why they may not drink as much.
During the clinic, each parent was advised regarding better nutrition for their children, for those who were outside their normal weight. Also, they were advised on how to properly use and cook the items provided in the food bag, proper eating schedule for the children and reduce unhealthy snacks between meals. Further counseling might be needed. In order to do this, conferences can be prepared and scheduled in order to teach the parents better ways to feed their children in healthy ways using the items provided in the food bags, plus fruits and vegetables at their reach.
During the clinic, the parents and children were taught how to properly brush their teeth. Many of them were also encouraged to visit a dentist. The percentages of teeth damage are too high, and from a very young age, the children already have deep cavities in their teeth. In the future, periodical dental clinics would help with this problem. But for now, teaching the parents and the kids the importance of taking good care of their teeth will also be beneficial. By preparing and scheduling interactive conferences, where the kids are taught how to properly brush their teeth and provide them with toothbrushes and toothpaste, the incidence of this issue may be reduced.
During the clinic, the children with a vision of 20/40 or higher were advised to visit an optometrist and get fitted for glasses. Some parents already knew their children needed glasses, but have not been able to buy them. This causes the children to suffer from constant headaches and lowers their school performance. According to the vision test provided by the CCM clinic, 89 children are in need of glasses.
Diseases: During the clinic, most of the children received treatment for their illnesses, others were being seen by specialists for their specific issues. Regardless of the situation, all of them were counseled on good hygiene habits in order to reduce diseases. It was also found that many people self-medicate incorrectly, they were also advised on this. A way to help with these issues is to educate the people on the most common diseases that were found, how to prevent them, and when to seek medical attention.