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Nicaragua Mission - Progress in Paramedicine

Date: 2013-04-24

A partnership program between Ontario Paramedics and Nicaragua to train and equip 360 Nicaraguans over a three year period to staff clinics in 90 villages with national 'first responders' who are capable of responding to the urgent care needs of their local community.

Paramedic Partnership Bridge

A partnership program between Ontario Paramedics and Nicaragua to train and equip 360 Nicaraguans over a three year period to staff clinics in 90 villages with national 'first responders' who are capable of responding to the urgent care needs of their local community.


Back in April 2012, 10 Paramedics and 1 Firefighter travelled to the Skylark Retreat Centre San Marcos Nicaragua under the auspices of Threefold Ministries to deliver a 5 day training program to 48 selected Nicaraguans from 15 villages in Carazo Province. The course was part one of a two part programme focused on the basics of first response. As a result of the success of that event the Paramedic Partnership Bridge Program is being proposed as a means of building a more long term response to the needs of the people of Nicaragua.

The health care system in Nicaragua is limited in several significant ways. Although access to a medical person is said by the government to be 'universal' in real terms this means that there are medical clinics throughout the whole country but these buildings are most often understaffed, or staffed with poorly trained people, or, not staffed at all. The clinics have very little medical equipment or medical supplies to do the work they need to do. In addition to this the access to medicine, diagnostics, basic procedures and follow-up care is very limited and primarily available only to those who can pay for it. The Paramedic Partnership Bridge cannot fix all of these problems but it can at least begin to address the most urgent of medical care needs.

The Program

Over the next three years, starting in 2013, an Ontario Paramedic Training Team will travel to Nicaragua on a quarterly basis, January, April, July and October. They will be focused on delivering one part of a two part program. The ideal team size will be 20 participants.

Minsa (the Nicaraguan Health Department) will identify and send 60 individuals from 15 villages to attend the program. These participants, upon successful completion of part one of the program, will be invited back to the second part of the training (Six months later).

The basic schedule for all the teams will be as follows:

  • Friday: Team meets for a preparation meeting.
  • Saturday: Travel Day
  • Monday - Friday morning: Program Delivery Days (next program delivery April 8-12)
  • Friday at noon: Graduation ceremony.
  • Friday afternoon: Team debrief relaxation and sightseeing.
  • Saturday: Travel Day

The Partnership Benefits

A true partnership by definition means that the partners both bring something meaningful to the table and in turn receive some benefit from the arrangement. Within the framework of the Paramedic Partnership Bridge we see each partner bringing what they are able to bring to the table and walking away with 3 significant benefits. The Nicaraguans, out of very limited financial ability, have committed to cover the travel costs of the participants, identify good candidates for training and provide ongoing monitoring and follow-up of the graduates of the program. The Canadians are investing of their time, skills and finances to deliver this program.

The potential outcome of this program, for the Nicaraguans, is that it should result in them having 360 trained first responders on the ground. These individuals will be available to serve in 90 underserviced villages and these individuals will have a consistent, continuous supply of materials to deliver first response care to their communities. The outcome of this program for the Ontario Paramedics is that they will benefit from a life changing, cross cultural experience. They will achieve a new level of expertise in their ongoing professional development as paramedics and trainers and they will have had an opportunity to satisfy a basic human need, the privilege of helping another human being in their need.

Threefold Ministries has established a good working relationship with the Nicaraguan Health Department (Minsa) and the local medical community. They are very excited about this program and committed to seeing it happen.

What's needed to deliver the Program

1. People to staff the teams.

Each team member pays for their own way to be part of the team. The cost is $2500 per participant, all inclusive. Money can be given from the team member directly or from a combination of sponsorship donations. All money will be forwarded to Threefold Mintstries and a tax receipt is given to the person, persons or corporate sponsors supporting this cost).

This money goes to the following:

  • $500 to cover part of the cost of the First Responders Kit that is given to each Nicaraguan participant and the Nicaraguan student's room and board cost to attend the training.
  • $2000 to cover all flight, food and lodging, translation services and transportation for the Ontario Paramedics.

2. Medical Supplies and Equipment

Each team is asked to gather as much medical supplies and equipment as possible to bring with the team to give to the participating students and villages. There are two specific needs in this regard. One is materials for the First Responders Kit that we give to the students and the building an inventory of materials that can be maintained by Minsa in Nicaragua to resupply the network of clinics that will be staffed by the students. The second need is to raise funds to transport the donated materials to Nicaragua. Each team can take a limited amount of materials with them but larger items, like donated equipment, will require another method of shipping. The Rotary Club in Parry Sound have indicated they will undertake a project of raising the funds to send a container. (Cost $10000) We would need other like minded organizations to help in this regard on an annual or perhaps semi annual basis.

3. Permission to Promote the Program in the Various Regional Services

We would ask the Chiefs to consider allowing us to advertise the teams in their internal communications. Threefold would attempt to find a point person in each participating service to act as a liaison between the membership and Threefold.

4. Recognition as the International Program and Charity endorsed and supported by the Ontario Paramedic Service

We would ask the governing body of the Ontario Paramedic Service to consider an endorsement of the 'Paramedic Partnership Bridge Program' as the international charitable endeavor of the Ontario Paramedic Service in the same manner as the service supports the Children's Wish Foundation as its domestic charity.

Nicaragua Mission - Partners in Paramedicine (English)

Nicaragua Mission - Partners in Paramedicine (Francais)