The “Amigos de Salud” aid project relies on compression stockings, expertise and volunteers to provide sustainable support for people with vascular diseases. medi for help supported the Fara Foundation to help those affected in Nicaragua.
The joint aid programme “Amigos de Salud” initiated by the Fara Foundation last took place in July 2023 and is dedicated to the free treatment of patients with vascular diseases in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Thanks to the cooperation of volunteers, doctors and sponsors, it was possible to help around 360 people who would otherwise not be able to afford healthcare. medi for help was also on site and provided support in the form of urgently needed compression care and volunteers.
The Fara Foundation¹ – a U.S. non-profit organisation seated in Austin, Texas – offers help in four areas: Healthcare, food, education and care for the elderly. The medical need in Matagalpa is particularly great, especially with regard to the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer.
The Fara Clinic specialises in vascular and venous diseases. This is where the “Amigos de Salud – Friends of Health” programme comes in, providing patients with vascular disease with facilities, medical care and logistical support – this is where medi for help plays its role.
As the clinic in Matagalpa is in urgent need of compression stockings and volunteers, the “Amigos de Salud” sought support from medi for help. In the first week of July, volunteers arrived in Matagalpa with medi compression products to supply all project participants and other people throughout the year. medi for help also provided additional supplies to ensure long-term aftercare.
Lasting help for people with vascular disease
During the project week, five different surgical areas, a pharmacy and two ultrasound stations were set up to cope with the high volume of patients. Doctors, medical professionals and medi for help supporters have cared for and advised a total of 360 patients in need of treatment and helped them with their pain, discomfort, bleeding and sleepless nights – which can be caused by venous disorders. Those affected travelled from all over Nicaragua – one of them, from a very remote region, took two days to get there.
During the “Amigos de Salud” project, the head of the wound care team at medi USA, Christopher Miles, was on site as compression manager and medi for help representative. Compression is a crucial component for the success of the numerous vascular treatments that took place this week, including vein operations and open leg wound treatments.
On leaving the clinic, Christopher Miles, who has also specialised in lymphoedema for over 20 years, took the measurements of all patients in order to customise the compression stockings. He also trained the volunteers in the clinic on how to take the correct measurements – and how to choose the right compression stocking for further treatment at home.
Healthcare and valuable experiences
“Taking part in projects like this can help to improve your own health and well-being,” says Christopher Miles. “I believe we quickly forget how fortunate we are in countries such as the U.S. or Germany. Access to good healthcare and trained staff is a privilege. Nicaragua is still a very unstable country where healthcare for women is not yet regularly guaranteed.”
He is convinced: “Joining the team of volunteers to help run the clinic was life-changing. We managed to treat the large number of patients in around four days. The team’s motivation and energy levels were very high, as everyone was there for the same reason: To help people in need.”
The Fara Clinic has become a regional contact point for many facilities that lack modern medical equipment and testing facilities. It is planned to continue the “Amigos de Salud” programme in 2024 in order to continue helping those who urgently need support locally.
1 https://farafoundatio.wpengine.com/ (Last access: 02.11.2023)