The Needs of a Community

Five kilometers outside of San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, approximately twelve thousand five hundred Nicaraguan refugees and impoverished Costa Rican citizens settled outside of central Alajuelita (“Little Alajuela”). The majority of this population, comprised largely of women and their children, is medically uninsured. Admirably, Costa Rica promises universal healthcare to its native 4.2 million citizens; unfortunately, the poorest sector of the population slips through bureaucratic cracks and Nicaraguan political refugees still receive no insurance. Though the World Health Organization estimates a remarkable eighty-nine percent of Costa Rica’s population have primary medical insurance, many people including Nicaraguan refugees still struggle to find much needed healthcare.

The most rampant medical issues plaguing this population are readily treatable with preventative measures, education initiatives and continuous healthcare monitoring: diarrhea, head lice, malnutrition, persistent bronchial infections, gastrointestinal microbe infections, unplanned pregnancies, alcoholism, drug addiction, and HIV. Coupled with these medical issues are equally persistent and pervasive social problems—the absence of clean water and sanitation facilities in rural areas, absent or overcrowded schools, underemployment, and increasing dropout rates in school.

The FIMRC clinic in San Felipe, Alajuelita was established in January of 2005 and is just a short walk to the underserved communities, Jasmín (“Jasmine”) and Los Pinos (“The Pines”). The San Felipe Clinic is staffed by our Clinic Doctor, Dr. Reinhart Stedem, the Health Program Coordinator, Camilo Ocampo, and Clinic Psychologist, Tatiana Blanco. The centrally located space serves as a FIMRC base within the community for well-child and acute care visits, as well as psychological services.