Where we work
Nicaragua is a Central American country located between Honduras and Costa Rica. Its population is 6.2 million people. Nicaragua was the scene of a devastating civil war in 1978 and subsequent communist governance from 1978 to 1992. The country is still attempting to rebuild itself. The economy, which saw limited recovery in the early 1990’s, was hit hard by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. These reasons, among others, have made Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere. The needs of the poor, especially for medical care, call Hope Clinic International to its medical missions work there.
There is widespread underemployment and poverty in the country. Overall, 46.2 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Most of the poverty (more than 80 percent) is concentrated in rural areas. In fact, 43 percent of the Nicaraguan population lives in rural areas and 68 percent of them are trying to survive off just over $1.25 per day. There are also very impoverished neighborhoods in the capital city, Managua.
Unemployment across the entire country is at 12 percent, but among the poor rural families, it is over 20 percent, and consequently many rural families are migrating to other countries or urban areas within Nicaragua to find work.
The poverty in Nicaragua has caused extremely poor health conditions. HIV and AIDS have been a big issue. There have also been frequent reports of violence against women. Even though Nicaragua has a government sponsored health care program, almost 40 percent of Nicaraguans lack access to licensed doctors and quality facilities. Despite recent efforts by the government to increase maternal and child health services to rural and distant areas, children are still being left behind. Surgical services for children are woefully inadequate due to insufficiently trained surgeons and lack of adequately resourced children’s hospitals. Treatable medical and surgical conditions are often undiagnosed and as a result become life threatening. Families in this region live on less than $2 per day and suffer hopelessness and despair as their children face high infant mortality rates, higher than average rates of respiratory diseases, neonatal sepsis, and congenital malformations. Unfortunately, many medical services provided in Nicaragua do not address the need for restoration, both physical and spiritual (e.g. prayer for healing, long-term coordinated care of chronic conditions, reconstructive surgery), human caring and concern, education, and community and economic empowerment. As such, this can often contribute to ongoing illness and poverty. At best, people may have access to a public system or short-term relief missions that might meet an immediate physical problem but fail to offer hope for a better and healthier life for their children.