Since an exploratory trip in 1999 following the devastation of Hurricane Mitch, OCHO has committed to providing health services to the rural and remote village of Atima, in the Department of Santa Barbara. Each year, a brigade team of volunteers provides free medical services to the community. As our relationships with the community developed, we expanded our focus from providing basic primary care to developing an expanding portfolio of sustainable programs of education, public health infrastructure, and clinical training.
The medical team is comprised of roughly 25 health practitioners in pediatrics, internal medicine, emergency medicine, obstetrics/ gynecology, ophthalmology, occupational therapy, public health, and nursing. An additional twenty five adult and high school volunteers work alongside the medical team in the clinic.OCHO also sends small teams of clinicians and volunteers to remote areas where patients are unable to attend the Atima clinic. In recent years, OCHO has expanded their services to a nearby community of primarily coffee workers, Choloma. We have been operating in both locations since then.
In addition to treating acute patient needs, OCHO addresses widespread concerns through sustainable, public health programs. Guided in concert with community collaboration, epidemiologic evidence, and regional specifications, our programs are designed to address the most pressing concerns with a long runway of improvement.
In partnership with the Rotary Club of Baltimore, Rotary International, Agua Clara (Cornell University), Agua Para El Pueblo, and the Municipal Government of Atima, OCHO helped to raise funds to support the construction of a $100,000 water purification facility to serve the Atima community.
Our vision of creating sustainable and self-sufficient communities goes beyond our annual visit to Honduras. OCHO supports local initiatives that although not necessarily related to direct medical care contribute to the overall growth of a community by promoting education, sustainable farming, and physical activities.
Special Needs School
OCHO believes that all children, irrespective of nationality, age, gender or ability, should enjoy a free and appropriate education without discrimination of any kind. Therefore, OCHO has teamed up with the municipality of Atima to make our next dream come true: the building of a school for children with developmental disabilities in Honduras.
The new school is now serving over 200 children in the community who currently do not have access to interventions. The goal is to treat children and educate their families to enhance their potential for an active integration in their community and improved quality of life. The model of a rehabilitation and educational center like the one OCHO and CRIC-Atima have created is especially impactful in rural communities and among low-income families.
Special Needs Partnership
OCHO has developed a partnership with Atima’s school initiative for children with developmental disabilities, Abriendo Puertas. The program is staffed voluntarily by teachers from the community and meets daily in the late afternoon to provide special educational services and parent support services to 20-30 children with medical problems that include cerebral palsy, developmental delay, Down Syndrome, hydrocephalus and spina bifida. These children typically do not receive any other educational services. What began as a donation of equipment such as walkers and wheelchairs has evolved into a full diagnostic evaluation and treatment program for children with developmental disabilities in the community