In 2010, the group conducted surveys in El Sauce, a region in the mountains of the department of León. Starting at a new site was definitely an adventure, but we had an amazing and very productive time. We interviewed 228 women and took GPS points at 372 houses, in 12 outlying communities. We had tremendous help from the local clinic in El Sauce, especially from our guides who were local vector control workers/health promotors. The medical and nursing students also spent a lot of time working in the clinic with American and Nicaraguan preceptors, even getting to help clean up a few machete wounds.
Things that are considered “outlying communities” in El Sauce are REALLY small. We had to ride in the back of the truck for an hour, then get out and hike through mud for about 20 minutes to get to the first house. The women, in general, are very receptive to participating in the survey. Many of the ones we interviewed on Friday had never attended school, and no one could correctly identify which forms of contraception can effectively reduce the risk of AIDS. None had electricity or running water, and few homes had more than one room...For me it was a great experience to see where some of the clinic patients are coming from, as these communities are so far removed from even the very rural conditions in El Sauce. There is a lot of hygeine education that could be done. Most families get their water from the river and many do not treat the water or do so inconsistently, and many do not recognize the association of low quality water supply with diarrheal disease (that is one of the survey questions).
~Kristie Appelgren, our Duke Peds resident