Although the essence of Nicaragua stayed consistent, illustrated by the re-election of president Daniel Ortega, Dr. Theresa A. Hennessey was shocked by differences as she emerged herself in the colorful country. As the recipient of the OO-OREF Traveling Fellowship, she traveled to Managua for three weeks, exploring the country’s medical, political and cultural atmospheres.
Nicaragua’s effete economy, caused by severe income inequality, drastically limits resources available for health care. At the beginning of her trip, Dr. Hennessey visited two large public hospitals: Hospital Lenin Fonseca and Hospital Roberto Calderon. Although almost all difficult cases in the entire country are treated at those hospitals, the technology is anachronous—Dr. Hennessey found herself using devices so old, she had only seen them before in photographs. In the military hospital, patients must buy their own devices for their procedures, making even the easiest cases arduous.
Despite the desperate lack of resources, however, residents stay dedicated, motivated and competent. They are committed to making mountains out of stones. Dr. Hennessey feels her relationship with the residents at Hospital Materno Infantil Velez Paiz, where she worked for two weeks, was symbiotic—both parties learned from the other. She hopes this relationship endures and would like to travel to Nicaragua frequently in the future.