ATENCION PRIMARIA EN SALUD (APS)
APS (website offline at this time) is a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Saul Contreras and established to improve the availability and quality of primary health care. Currently, 250 community health workers provide service to 195 rural Nicaraguan communities. The program is currently coordinated by
Dr. Fabiola del Carmen Thomas Gonzalez.
Aiming to build an alternative health care system grounded in community-based preventative and curative primary health care services, APS:
- operates clinics that deliver free or low-cost care and medicines
- extensively trains community health promoters in rural areas to be able to diagnose, treat, and provide health education on a wide variety of health topics
- supplies health promoters with a health kit
- makes medicines available at reduced prices encouraging the restocking and use of the health kits; as well as encouraging continued contact and dialogue between APS and health promoters
- delivers training and education sessions on a monthly basis in central locations to certified health promoters.
Health promoters, based from their homes, provide free consultations and sell medicines below-cost within their communities. As a result of providing primary health care to their communities, the promoters (the majority of whom are women) develop leadership skills and become community leaders. Many have gone on to create and participate in their community health committee as well as become members of the community-wide council. These positions have led them to direct many development-oriented projects, such as creating access to clean water, building latrines and roads, as well as the creation of nutritional centers for children. They have also been involved with local Ministries of Health and other non-governmental organizations that are involved with many kinds of development activities.