Six years after the first planning trip to bring a state-of-the-art surgery center to the Rio San Juan community of Boca de Sabalos, the first cinder blocks were set in cement during a groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 6, 2017. The new facility, to be annexed to the existing Sabalos Health Center, is projected to be completed by midyear.
John Jones of Santa Rosa, Calif., who conceived of the surgery center and has spearheaded the project for San Juan Rio Relief along with its local coordinator, Rafael Praslin, participated in the ceremony. Also on hand were officials from Nicaragua’s health ministry, health center doctors, nurses and staff members, senior members of the constuction team and about 15 SJRR volunteers.
Once constructed, the 1,900 square-foot facility will be equipped to serve the 26,000 residents of neighboring and outlying communities. Currently, people must travel to the hospital in the region’s capital city of San Carlos. That travel can be arduous, time consuming and transportation is very sporadic. It’s estimated that as many as 10 people a month must make the trip to San Carlos for emergency care. The new operating center will help save lives by significantly reducing the costs, time and efforts needed to get proper care.
The surgery center will be staffed by a general surgeon, an anathesiologist and a gynocologist.
Funding for the surgery center is being provided by Sunrise Rotary of Santa Rosa, Rotary International and through individual contributions.