In 2017, Comunidad Connect collaborated with several academic partners to improve our understanding of the current socioeconomic and health status of the community of Los Robles.
Research teams from the University of Calgary, The Ohio State University, and the University of Alabama – headed by Warren Wilson (Calgary), Barbara Piperata (OSU) Kammi Schmeer (OSU), and Jason DeCaro (Alabama) – also presented preliminary findings from their research on maternal and child health in Los Robles this past summer. Some notable findings from these preliminary results are below, along with data collected from Comunidad Connect’s 2016 in-depth survey of 300 households.
In explaining her 2018 vision, Dr. Piperata aims to look at how children’s interactions with their environment (soil, water, food, animals) affects their gut microbiome and incidence of diarrhea.
“We found the people interested and very willing to help with all aspects of the research. This is a major plus for moving ahead… people in the community are interested and willing to help advance understanding and make evidence-based changes to improve well-being. You cannot say that about every place. I think this is very important for seeing a sustained impact.”
As we move forward in 2018 and beyond, we will continue collaborating with academic and community partners to provide a holistic understanding of health in rural Nicaragua. Ongoing research is the key that drives in-country programming. For example, sanitation has emerged as a critical priority. Currently, over 50% of Los Robles is defecating in the open air and only 20% of latrines are in decent conditions. We are seeking viable solutions, so please contact us if you know of best practices, colleagues, or research related to rural sanitation in developing countries. We hope to begin with several prototypes in 2018.