Mayflower Medical Outreach was born in 1999. Our first two trips to Nicaragua were traditional “medical missions” where volunteers visited makeshift clinics in several towns around the country. And although we attended to hundreds of men, women and children, we came away learning the deficiencies in this type of assistance. We knew that we had found our calling in Nicaragua, but we learned that the people would be better served through a concentrated application of our resources in a single location.
We chose to place our focus in Jinotega, which, with a population of 80,000, lies in the mountains of northern Nicaragua, three hours from Managua. We had anticipated that we would need to build a good foundation in Jinotega and realized that our long-term goal of providing care to patients in Jinotega would fail if the basic resources were not available to support and train Nicaraguan doctors. As well, over 30% of our patients were children with congenital hearing loss. In addition to medical care, it became obvious that full time Audiology support was going to be a must! On that initial trip in March 2000, we were fortunate enough to gain the support of Victoria Motta Hospital in Jinotega and were able to see patients in a nearly new Eye Clinic adjacent to the hospital. This facility has since become the permanent home of the MMO Otolaryngology and Audiology clinics.
As of 2015, Mayflower Medical Outreach has completed 16 years of service. We have equipped and remodeled an ENT clinic in Jinotega and Esteli; built audiology testing booths in Jinotega, Esteli, and Managua; established a boarding school for deaf students which includes a commercial bakery and computer lab; provided renovations for our close partner, Casa Materna in Jinotega; supported a permanent ENT doctor in Jinotega and an audiology technician in Jinotega and Esteli; provided continuing education for ENT doctors in Managua, Jinotega, Esteli, and surrounding areas, and began a hearing screening program for all 1st graders in Jinotega. In 2012 we assumed management of IHHAPP, an international hearing adi purchase consortium. In 2014 we launched the first Audiometry Training and Certification Program in the country.
Over 150 volunteers have served in Nicaragua through MMO as doctors, nurses, translators, deaf educators, audiologists, medical researchers, speech therapists, artists, adult and youth ministers, and general construction providers. Our vision has expanded from our original goal. On the horizon are: regional expansion of ENT clinics; strengthening of speech therapy training; national infant hearing screenings; support of early intervention services; and participation in training and networking of educators of the deaf.