"Until now," said student Margarita Guido, "students accessed the latest medical information at local cyber cafes. There are two problems: first, we have to pay for access time," she said, "And we can only get abstracts on the latest articles but not the full article without paying. And none of us can afford even one (article)."
On October 12, the Center de salud. Perla Maria Norori—Leon's main medical school—welcomed a new WiRED Medical Information Center (MIC) to Nicaragua. Students, professors and physicians expressed their gratitude for the center and discussed their circumstances in stark terms at MIC's opening ceremony.
Student Renee Castillo was enthusiastic about the MIC. "To have this new information source will be a great advantage in our work and our studies. At this point, we have just a small collection of books and all of them are several printings behind current volumes," he said. "Now we can use this Medical Information Center to access the latest updated information and to stay in touch with our colleagues in other places."
WiRED executive director Dr. Gary Selnow spoke at the event (see remarks below). He was joined by a representative from the Leon Rotary Club and Perla Maria Norori's director for the ribbon cutting ceremony, which was attended by approximately 60 enthusiastic staff, students and physicians. Once a local priest blessed the center, revelers were given demonstrations of the computers and their capabilities.
On October 14, WiRED installed two MICs at teaching hospitals in Choluteca, Honduras—inaugurating WiRED's presence in this beautiful but impoverished country.
The Tiburon/Belvedere Rotary Club (CA) and Rotary International are the Nicaraguan and Honduran Centers' primary sponsors.
Oct. 12, 2005óDr. Gary Selnow's Speech, at the Opening of the Center de salud, Perla Maria Norori in Leon, Nicaragua
Recent floods have put residents at risk for bacterial infections. Local doctors told Gary Selnow that this MIC arrived just in time.
"The needs here are great and this Center will address a serious information gap," says Santiago Castellon Rodriguez, a WiRED staffer. "The staff and students [in Choluteca] are particularly grateful because there are no other such medical information programs anywhere in Honduras. They are excited to be the first to receive a Center."
"Thank you very much for your warm welcome. It is always a pleasure to return to Leon and to visit with you, my friends of the Leon Rotary Club, with members of the Leon medical community and with the good citizens of this beautiful city.
I bring you greetings from the men and women of the Tiburon Belvedere Rotary Club. These partners have generously contributed funds that, in cooperation with Rotary International, have assisted with this new Medical Information Center. They have asked me to extend their best wishes and to tell you how pleased they are to share in this medical and healthcare project-the third such activity in Leon.
I also extend greetings from WiRED International's board of directors and volunteers who donate their time to Medical Information Projects here in Leon, in Honduras and in eight other countries around the world including Kenya, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Serbia and Iraq.
Before I go further, I want to thank my good friend and colleague, Santiago Castellon, who has worked tirelessly on this effort. He has helped organize the work here and in Honduras, and I want to express my gratitude to him and to the technicians, assistants and the other people who have been part of this project. I also want to thank my friend and translator Emanuel Alonso.
When we look at all the people joining together to provide medical information in Leon, at the hundreds of other people working in WiRED's Centers around the world, and at hundreds of thousands of people using the information provided, we begin to see how universal our concern for healthcare has become. In fact, it is tempting to consider an intriguing possibility: Healthcare is a common concern, could it become a great unifier?
Much divides the world today. Sadly, we have wars and conflicts in too many places. We partition ourselves by race, religion, ideology and political philosophy. Many things come between us, and the results are often heartbreaking.
But truth be told, one issue unites us; one thing that all people seek, no matter where we live, how we pray, what color skin we have. We all seek good health for ourselves, and we all want good health for our children and for the people we love.
In a beleaguered world where we look for common ground where people can stand together, our quest for good health can be a valuable starting place. Doctors and patients 10,000 miles from here face many of the same health issues you face in Leon. Treatments that cure illness in this place can help patients in Honduras, Kenya, Kosovo and Iraq. Medicine and healthcare remind us that we are not so different.
WiRED, through this Medical Information Center and others on four continents, seeks to unite medical communities around the world through improved communication. We seek to demonstrate that as human beings, we are alike at the most fundamental level. We sometimes dwell on the differences of race and ideology, religion and politics, but we, ourselves, add those dividers. When we are born into this world, we are all outfitted with this fragile human form.
Illness, disease and injury afflict us all; our search for cures and ways to mend broken bodies join us together.
And so, as we dedicate this Medical Information Center today, we cut this ribbon with a great hope that the information dispensed to doctors and medical students will contribute in their efforts to heal Leon's citizens. But, we also hope that this Center will remind us of our commonality, of the fact that, at heart, we are the same, one and all. It is true that much divides us, but our quest for good health is the tie that binds."
Layout by Brian Colombe.
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