Nicaragua: Improving Quality of Life

Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Widespread malnutrition and inadequate water and sanitation systems produce ongoing health risks. Reaching these underserved communities to provide healthcare and foster sustainability are challenges for Acción Medica Cristiana (AMC) Advance #14846A, because the people they serve often live in remote and isolated communities.

The communities where AMC works are among the most ecologically and economically vulnerable populations [in] Central America. Most of the people AMC serves earn a living by subsistence farming, small commerce, fishing, or logging.

A leading nongovernment organization in Nicaragua, AMC works to empower people through training in community health services and developing impoverished communities. The organization also regularly hosts missionaries, Global Mission Fellows, Global Justice Volunteers, and Volunteers In Mission teams.

One of AMC's key strengths in community health is engaging local populations in identifying and responding to root problems that impact health.

"Health promoters are trained to derive appropriate solutions to basic health care needs," explained Belinda Forbes, who serves AMC as the international liaison for community health, a role that engages her in direct dental care, training, communications and partnership development, and in promoting AMC's work.

An AMC worker travels through muddy waters to deliver medicine and supplies to communities living in remote areas. Courtesy of Belinda Forbes.
 

"Local community members are empowered with the skills and alliances to be protagonists of their own development," stated Forbes.

During last December's UMC #GivingTuesday event, Dr. Belinda Forbes, a General Board of Global Ministries missionary serving Acción Medica Cristiana (AMC), received the most online donations as a missionary, totaling more than $14,000. To celebrate that honor, Forbes was awarded an additional $10,000 from Global Ministries, which she will use to fill funding gaps at AMC.

From the time of AMC's founding in 1984, it was young Nicaraguan health professionals who delivered clinical care services to people living in conflict zones during the Contra War. After the armed conflict ended, AMC handed the clinical care work back to the Ministry of Health and began to focus on the root causes of health problems.

The organization is made up of public health doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, and includes other professionals such as agronomists, educators, social workers, sociologists, and disaster prevention experts—all with some subspecialty in the development area.

AMC works in 200 communities and reaches about 250,000 people with a primary focus on community health, food security, and disaster prevention and mitigation.

"Our vision is for the communities we serve to have the quality of life through the respect of their basic rights as human beings. Also, to be empowered with the tools and knowledge to be heard by decision-makers at all levels in health, employment, education, and commerce," stated Forbes.

Forbes concluded by expressing her thanks, "I want to thank Global Ministries and our donors for the ongoing support of our work, and for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my role to be a light to the world by following God's call to serve."

Judith Santiago, Editorial and Content Coordinator for Global Ministries.

The Advance is the accountable, designated-giving arm of The United Methodist Church. The Advance invites contributors to designate support for projects related to the General Board of Global Ministries. Individuals, local churches, organizations, districts and annual conferences may donate to The Advance. One hundred percent of every gift to The Advance goes to the project selected by the giver.