Tag Archives: Family Clubs

Participating in a medical campaign helps this woman build her self-esteem

In November, the ProSalud project organized a 2-day medical campaign in San Sebastián area of Los Reyes, in collaboration with some local public health workers, a group of doctors from Puebla and a team of doctors and a pharmacist from the Fellowship Bible Church of Batesville. In two days, these dedicated professionals carried out 239 medical exams, 61 dental exams, 15 optometry exams, treated 520 people for parasites and provided vaccinations and dispensed prescriptions free of charge.

campana medica- San Sebas 11-2014- 2However, medical campaigns do more than just provide low-cost, accessible health services to the slum communities where we work. They also provide a vehicle for the community to come together and organize on its own behalf. Carrying out this campaign would not have been possible without the participation of a team of community volunteers, who set up and tore down the site, volunteered space in their homes for exam rooms, signed in and prepped patients, kept records and brought food they had prepared for the visiting doctors. This gave these neighbors a chance to actively contribute to the betterment of their own community as well as develop their own servant leadership qualities.

“Josefina,” who lives in San Sebastián, struggles with self-esteem issues due to her lack of formal education. Because she cannot read or write well, she tends to feels inferior to people who have had more schooling. However she has been participating in the local Family Club and, during the campaign, staff observed that she was actively participating all day: taking vital signs, handing out patient numbers and helping to clean up afterwards. Several days later, “Josefina” commented to ProSalud staff that participating in the campaign had made her feel useful, despite the fear she has of not doing things well. She said, “I am going to keep on attending the [Family Club] workshops, so that this fear goes away.”

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Family Club participation gives grandmother a new sense of purpose

The goal of the ProSalud Project is to create a holistic community health model that will help families to develop healthier overall lifestyles. ProSalud carries out many of its activities through enrollment in Family Clubs. Some of the main goals of the Family Clubs are to provide participants with health education and increase social capital. Family Clubs help to build social cohesion by creating opportunities for friendship, reflection and trust, primarily for women… although in the last few months ProSalud has also seen men asking to join the Family Clubs for the first time.

taller de alimentacion- agosto 2014Irma, who is 78 years old and has diabetes, began participating in a Family Club about 2 months ago. Her niece suggested that she check out the Club, since Irma was suffering from depression and her niece thought it would do her good.  Irma has been the sole caretaker of her grandson since he was a baby when his mother, who did not have the means to support him, left him in her care.  Now, at 16 years old, her grandson is more independant and spends less time with her.  After spending so much of her time caring for him, Irma was feeling lonely and un-needed.

In the last couple of months that she has been attending the Family Club, Irma said that she is feeling much better. She has made a lot of new friends and doesn’t worry so much on her illness anymore.  She is also helping teach the other Club participants some of ther hobbies, which has helped her feel useful, appreciated and important again.  In fact, just recently she commented to the group that it is never too late to learn new things and to keep on living an active and dignified life.

Community health project shows impressive results in just a few months

Although we only began working in San Sebastián in July of 2013, our work has been very fruitful so far. In only a few months, ProSalud established two Family Clubs impacting 144 people from 36 families. More than 800 individuals received medical and dental services during three medical campaigns in this area and we directly administered de-worming medication to 5,000 students at 10 different local schools.

We also helped to create connections within the community, forming support networks with formal institutions and laying the foundation to achieve greater social cohesion and increased citizen participation in 2014.