On Monday, ten SVH promotoras (community health workers) and six additional women from our partner communities participated in a course on the human reproductive system. The training was designed by SVH volunteer Erica Gadzik, who is a second year medical student at the University of Washington. She taught alongside SVH nurse Leticia Huanca, who is fluent in Quechua and has a longstanding relationship with our promotoras.
Erica and Leticia began with a brief introduction to the anatomy of the female and male reproductive organs. Participants offered their thoughts about the differences between the sexes and how reproduction works. This opening exercise not only served as an opportunity for participants to engage with the subject matter, but also enabled Erica and Leticia to gauge the promotoras’ current level of knowledge about reproduction.
The participants then learned how pregnancies occur, the stages of fetal development, and what expecting mothers should eat and do to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Erica and Leticia used visual aids, including diagrams and an eleven-minute video that showed how the fetus grows within a uterus throughout the different stages of pregnancy.
After the women learned facts about pregnancy, the focus shifted to family planning. The participants divided up into small groups, each of which was briefed by an SVH staff member on a different method of family planning offered by the local posta (government clinic) where we held the training. After a few minutes of instruction, one member of each group taught the rest of the participants about the method covered by their group. This included how the method works and possible side effects. The methods discussed were IUDs, injections, birth control pills, natural family planning, and condoms. Finally, Erica and Leticia explained what sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are, and how many can be prevented by using a condom.
The event concluded with each participant sharing one thing that she learned. Many highlighted family planning and fetal development. All participants were enthusiastic and engaged throughout the lesson, and stressed the importance of reproductive health education in their communities. Overall, the training was a huge success!
– Written by Erin Ryan