Tag Archives: Health promoters

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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Health promoter finds purpose in working with her community

One important community connection that ProSalud made in 2013 is with Alma, one of ProSalud’s most active San Sebastián Promoters. When ProSalud first launched in the neighborhood, Alma was not interested in becoming involved. Her brother had been killed a little while earlier in a carjacking and she had been in a deep depression ever since. She was full of anger and resentment towards everyone around her, knowing that his killers (who were never apprehended) could well be people from her own community.

When first asked to participate in the project, Alma told the ProSalud staff, “No, I’m no good for things like that.” However, little by little, she became more involved. As she started to participate more actively, she began slowly to come out of her depression. Now, Alma is the first Promoter to arrive at every workshop. A consistent participant at every ProSalud event, Alma now approaches the staff to ask what she can do and how she can help. She has even donated space in her home to serve as ProSalud’s warehouse in the San Sebastián neighborhood. As Alma told the ProSalud staff, “I like working with you! It helps keep me from feeling depressed!”

Community health project shows large-scale impacts in Chimalhuacán

In 2013, roughly 1,500 people from 310 families involved in different Family Clubs and an exercise club in Chimalhuacán were impacted through Project ProSalud. Each of these Family Clubs has its own Community Health Promoter, who participates in ongoing training and mentoring by ProSalud staff.

In 2013 we also signed working agreements and collaborated with public health institutions. Thanks to these agreements, 1,770 people were directly referred to existing public or private health services,IMG_9295 including cancer screenings, dental services and vaccinations. The impact of these collaborations has been gratifying; for example, 64% of those vaccinated who were surveyed reported being sick less often.   In collaboration with the municipal health authorities, ProSalud also launched a massive parasite treatment campaign in which 30,000 people participated. 82% of those treated for parasites who were surveyed reported having less stomach problems.

Lastly, 360 malnourished children participated in ProSalud’s nutrition program in 2013, where they received nutritional supplements in order to optimize their growth, and 100 people with disabilities received donated wheelchairs.

Partnerships with public health authorities increase health access for slum dwellers

ProSalud began working in San José Palmas in 2013 by holding community meetings aimed at forming Family Health Clubs. After a little over a year of working in the Palmas community, ProSalud currently has five functioning Family Clubs in this area, impacting approximately 500 people from 125 families.  Each Family Club has a Community Health Promoter who is receiving ongoing training from project staff on health-related issues.  In addition, due to our collaborative relationships with public health service providers, more than 1,200 individuals received medical and dental services during three medical campaigns and 218 people were referred to low-cost dental services, counseling and speech therapy.

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First Municipal Parasite Treatment Campaign- We are thankful for the unconditional support of Transformación Urbana Internacional

In 2013, ProSalud was also invited to attend a municipal health committee meeting in Los Reyes La Paz. At that meeting the health authorities revealed that parasite infestation was the second most important health problem in the municipality. As a result, ProSalud began a massive anti-parasite campaign, holding workshops and distributing parasite treatment medication in collaboration with the municipal health authorities. All told, 35,000 people received treatment for parasites. An impact study which was reviewed and approved by Dr. Victor Santoyo Alvarez, epidemiologist and regional director of majority of the Los Reyes La Paz municipal health clinics, found that 82% of the people surveyed reported less stomach problems after receiving treatment.