Due to an unstable sociopolitical climate, it had been almost two years since Esperança’s last surgical visit to Nicaragua. After diligently monitoring Nicaragua’s political state and travel advisory rating, and with encouragement from its in-country partner, AVODEC, Esperança’s staff, board members, and medical volunteers returned to Nicaragua in late January.
In a new model of surgical mission, Esperança board member and general surgeon Dr. Brandt Feuerstein from Delaware and two of his colleagues integrated with local medical professionals to form one cohesive volunteer surgical team. In one week, the team of 14 performed 79 successful general and gynecological surgeries, significantly more than anticipated.
“Following this successful mission and site evaluation, Esperança plans to reinstate surgical missions with international volunteers in Nicaragua,” said Anna Ortiz, international program director.
Through their local partner, AVODEC, Esperança understood there was a huge gap in primary care in the country’s rural communities, and this temporary hiatus in mission work allowed them to establish a primary care program to fill that need. This program is led by a local doctor, dentist, nurse and medical students, and has served more than 7,700 men, women and children since its inception in 2018.
With the reinstating of surgical missions to Nicaragua, Esperança is currently recruiting new teams for specialties including general, general pediatrics, gynecology, hand, neurosurgery, orthopedic, plastics, varicose veins and varicose ulcers.
For more information about Esperança or joining a surgical mission, please visit www.esperanca.org
Derived from the Portuguese word for “hope,” Esperança has been dedicated to transforming lives since its inception in 1970. Now celebrating 50 years of service this year, globally Esperança works within some of the poorest communities in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mozambique and Peru, providing health education, food security, disease prevention, access to clean water, ecological home-building and life-altering surgeries. Further, the organization also serves under-resourced children, adults and seniors in Maricopa County through programs such as oral health, chronic disease prevention and management, nutrition, and parent ambassador training. For more information, please visit: www.esperanca.org.