June’s community health worker (promotora) training day focused on caring for pregnant women. SVH, community leaders, and the Ministry of Health have all identified maternal and newborn care as a high priority, and SVH staff developed curriculum and created visual materials that address this need.
Since we launched the promotora program over a year ago, we’ve been nurturing relationships with the nurses who staff rural outpost clinics (postas) in our region. Our goal is for the nurses to be frequent lecturers at promotora trainings. This month’s training was led by a Patacancha nurse who has years of experience as a reproductive health educator. She was excited to teach the promotoras about maternal health, and they were eager to learn!
We spent the last few weeks developing the maternal health curriculum, drafting booklets and tests. We created the materials in consultation with the posta nurses, and the training day was a remarkably smooth culmination of our joint efforts. We began by collecting patient documentation forms and then we interviewed each promotora about her experience over the past month – how many patients did she see and what challenges did she face? Breakfast was followed by review of the subject matter covered in last month’s training. Then the promotoras received thermometers and learned from the posta nurses how to use and protect them, and why it’s important to monitor patients’ body temperature.
As the nurses began teaching about the care of pregnant women, the audience was rapt. The promotoras learned about both normal symptoms and signals of alarm during the pre-natal, post-natal, and neo-natal stages, as well as how to figure out when a pregnant woman is about to give birth and should head for the posta. After the lecture, we split into pairs – one volunteer with each promotora – and had the promotoras teach us what they had learned. We each acted the part of a nervous pregnant woman who had lots of questions. It was tough for me (Stewart) to be convincing, since I currently sport a 5 cm mustache – clearly not a normal characteristic of pregnancy!
We ended the day by planning our next meetings, trainings, and the promotoras’ upcoming presentations to groups in their communities. The promotoras already have five secondary presentations planned for the coming two weeks. Stay tuned!
SVH may be coming to a town near you – follow Keri and Julia’s Spokes and Paddle bike odyssey here.