Financial Stress of Nicaraguan Medical Students

Financial concerns of Nicaraguan students are unimaginable to most of us in the United States. Many of our medical students cannot afford a computer. Our applicants mention the handicap they endure by having no computer or having to borrow one from friends or relying on availability of the few computers at URACCAN University.

Students cannot afford to purchase text books because of the exorbitant price. Sometimes students share a text from the library and you cannot imagine the ragged condition of such books! Without a computer and without texts, students must photocopy chapters of books that are made available on computers. Adelante Mujer provides money for students to pay for photocopies which cost about $20 every month.

Without books, often without a computer, students must rely on notes they take for study and that means they need quantities of school supplies, some of which are more expensive in Nicaragua than in the US.

The cost of rice and beans, staples of every Nicaragua diet, has increased during the last few years and this reality caused the price of a simple meal at URACCAN University to rise. Sometimes students did not eat on school days or they relied on a snack because they could not afford a meal. This year Adelante Mujer raised the monthly monetary allowance per student to help them purchase adequate and more nutritious food to promote better concentration and learning.

Medical students in their third through sixth year are scheduled to work in the local hospital. Besides school supplies they also must purchase such materials as lab coats, stethoscope, scrubs, rubber gloves, blood pressure cuff, head and foot covering, surgery masks, thermometer, hand sanitizers, etc. Some students even purchase and carry a flashlight because electricity in the hospital may fail during life-saving procedures.

Transportation to and from the hospital from the university is an additional cost to medical students. If they can, they group together to take a taxi which may cost $3-$4 a trip. (Gas prices in Nicaragua have not decreased like they have in the United States. When I was there during December a gallon of gas cost almost $5.00, US dollars.)

Students who are not from Puerto Cabezas and have no family or relatives in Puerto Cabezas may be able to live in dorms at the university or they need to find some other safe accommodation. Two blood sisters who applied for financial assistance advised us that they share a rented room that had only one cot which the two of them shared. Recently their dad sold one of his farm animals so he could provide another cot for each of his girls to have her own. They cried when they told of his love and sacrifice for them.

As you can see, the need is significant and the education of medical students in Nicaragua is crucial. Every penny donated to Adelante Mujer is spent on this worthy cause. Thank you for your generosity.

by Sister Diane, CSA   February 29, 2016
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