Estación Vital fights chronic diseases in Nicaragua

“Being an entrepreneur is almost a spiritual experience; you have to know clearly what you want so your inner demons will not counter you at any stage of your project.”

Marcos Lacayo believes in the power of technology to bring accessible, preventive healthcare to millions of Latin Americans. An undergraduate degree in industrial engineering at a Catholic university provided Marcos with a thorough understanding of both optimizing complex processes and the role of philosophy and religion in his life. Upon receiving his masters in Health Administration, Marcos worked in a variety of engineering jobs, eventually finding his way to an electronic engineering company that installed emergency systems in hospitals.

Despite being the child of a retired urologist and a doctor of Public Health, it was the first time he had seriously exposed his adult self to the healthcare arena. Tasked with installing protection systems on infant cribs, Marcos was present when the first attempt at baby abduction really occurred. As the system rapidly and effectively locked down the hospital, Marcos found himself utterly blown away. He had seen firsthand the power of technology to save lives.

Although he was largely content with his life, Marcos knew there was something missing. Above all, he missed his native Nicaragua. Walking into a CVS pharmacy one day, his attention fastened on a kiosk that was providing free preventive tests and collecting data. His eyes grew wide with an idea. The beautifully simple model could be replicated and adapted to Latin America, bringing health care access to millions of families across the region. Fastening on a plan, Marcos began to draw up ideas and designs. He sold his house in a flurry of excitement and inspiration, and decisively moved back to Nicaragua.

Marcos hoped to address the massive rise of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension in Latin America. He knew that the long distances to hospitals and high costs incurred for care were keeping low and middle-income families from properly taking care of their health, and thus developed a company offering a simple solution.

Estación Vital installs kiosks in highly-frequented areas, like malls, providing patients with free preventive tests for temperature, BMI, vision, and blood pressure. Registered users can then use the existing kiosks or the online platform for professional consultation by doctors, nutritionists, and psychologists.

Since its conception in 2015, Estación Vital has been legally registered, certified by the Minister of Health, and featured in several local news networks. The successful installation of three kiosks has already provided over 173,000 evaluations and gathered over 45,000 registered users. 73 year old Lillian Martinez first came to Estacion Vital with serious hypertension. With the selfless support of its auxiliaries, she has been consistently monitored for the last seven months and her situation has steadily improved.

Hoping to unlock the potential of the Latin American network, Marcos applied to Agora’s Accelerator program. The retreat and months of consulting that followed have provided him with invaluable opportunities to receive feedback from other social entrepreneurs and potential investors. The support and advice he received have allowed him to both adapt and improve his business model.

Estación Vital today is rapidly expanding, and Marcos hopes to be operating throughout Central America in five years. His entrepreneurial journey has been uniquely spiritual, teaching him to resolutely defeat his inner demons and become comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. He is unendingly inspired and driven to persevere by the people he meets every day, each overcoming a unique set of challenges.

With hard work, patience, and a little bit of luck, Marcos has brought life-altering healthcare to tens of thousands of individuals. Powered by the incredible motivation and persistence of its founder, Estación Vital is changing the world, one kiosk at a time.

Learn more about Estacaión Vital at www.estacionvital.com.

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