The Moravian medical work in Nicaragua is continuing to bear fruit for the health of the people of that Central American country.
It began with a dream of Dr. David Thaeler to establish a Moravian hospital on the Rio Coco in northern Nicaragua and to train locals to assume responsibility for the health care in this region. Even though the original hospital was destroyed in the Sandinista War, the Bilwaskarma Clinic continues to provide significant care, especially in its preventive health program.
Dr. Thaeler also established a nurse’s training school, and today graduates from this school work all over the world. One of these graduates, Alta Hooker, had a dream that was likely influenced by Dr. Thaeler—training medical students at her school.
Alta currently serves as Dean of URACCAN (University of the Autonomous Regions of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua). In an effort to support the movement of the newly-born autonomy process of the region, Alta used her influence and contacts for URACCAN to receive the approval of several government agencies to conduct training of medical students there.
On December 12, 2014, URACCAN graduated its first 17 medical doctors. This first class was composed of students primarily from the northeast coast of Nicaragua, speaking Miskito, English (Creole), Spanish and Sumu Mayagna. Students received special training in traditional medicine of the local people along with their standard medical training.
In addition to being a graduate of the nurse’s training school, Alta is niece of the late Alice Hooker, who for many years lived in Bilwaskarma with the Thaelers and later in Puerto Cabezas, directing the Christian Education program of the Moravian Church. Alta has also been influential in convincing the Nicaraguan government to provide consistent financial support for the two universities of the Caribbean coast.
Thanks to the hard work of those forefathers and persons like Alta, the future of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua appears brighter! ■
Larry Palmer is the treasurer for the Moravian Church in Nicaragua . Above: Medical graduates from URACCAN.