A major health and environmental issue in Soloy is the lack of sanitary infrastructure. Therefore, Medo has begun a latrine project: organizing communities to contribute labor and soliciting funds to contribute materials in order to bring the most basic of public health necessities to the community.

The project was first visualized by Medo pioneer Marie-Rose Shoucri in 2006, who with a background in public health immediately recognized the need for this most basic sanitary infrastructure. She met with local community members to ascertain an interest, and found that, indeed, the community wanted to build latrines and would participate in the construction if supplied with the materials. With the hep of SAMA, materials were donated for the construction of two latrines.

In the summer of 2007, Amanda Gabster, who was volunteering in the health clinic, noted the great number of gastrointestinal problems, "On the first day at work, I noticed that over a quarter of the patients that come into the clinic have gastrointestinal worms, diarrhoea and/or vomiting; the majority of the cases are babies and children." Amanda therefore decided to become involved in the latrine project. She formulated the goal of building 50 latrines in 5 areas. Amanda met with each of the 5 communities weekly to hold discusssions on the importance of latrines, and their maintanence. "In the first meeting in each community, I was told the same story: the community members had asked the Panamanian Ministry of Health to construct latrines in their towns, however the Ministry has done nothing for years. The communities I chose have no aqueduct system or latrines. Community members have agreed, more than willingly, to do the work of the latrine construction and ongoing maintenance. They will carry the materials to the areas (reachable only by foot or horse from Soloy), supply the wood or bamboo for the latrine frame, dig the hole and construct the latrine." Amanda is in Canada now, studying and fundraising for future latrine construction. During her stay in Soloy, a model two-hole latrine was built at a school in Alto Bonito, a town one and a half hours from Soloy (and hence the health clinic).

The total construction costs for one 2 seat latrine is estimated at $150: materials at $80, transportation $45 and rice, lentils, coffee and bread for the workers at $25. The latrines are constructed with the permission and guidance of the Panamanian Ministry of Health in order to ensure that safe and sustainable latrines are built.

Joel Lankford, Executive Director of the St. Patrick Hospital Foundation in Missoula, Montana has graciously offered to facilitate donation collection by providing 501(c)(3) tax-deductible status for latrine construction with Project Ngobe Bugle.

To donate:

· Please make checks payable to:
St. Patrick Hospital Foundation- Attn: Joel Lankford
P.O. Box 4587 Missoula, MT 59806
MEMO: Panama Sanitation

·Or make online payments at the following website:

Check the “other” box and be sure to type that the donation is for the Panama Sanitation Project in the comment box.





created by anna zaniewski for medo 2007