On Thursday, Sacred Valley Health began an exciting chapter in its expansion. As we move into new areas, we want to ensure that our services and the knowledge base of the promotoras (community health workers) are meeting the specific needs of the communities we serve. To that end, we are carrying out community needs assessment surveys. A team consisting of an SVH Community Coordinator, our fabulous nurse Leticia Huanca, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator Erin Ryan, and a newly-elected promotora work together to canvass each community, walking from home to home and speaking with each family.
We interview members of every household, gathering demographic data first and then asking them to share their perspectives on the community’s health issues and needs. We ask which health issues they would most like to address. Their answers will influence which topics we choose for the promotora training curriculum. After each training session in the coming year, the promotoras will share their knowledge with other community members, both in the community’s general assembly and in small groups.
We have already mapped some of our new communities using GPS, but more work remains to be done. M&E Coordinator Erin ensures that we accurately plot each home’s location, and record GPS coordinates along with information about the family living there. Using this data, we are able to create a map of each community that is useful both for the promotoras’ work and for our purposes in tracking health determinants and indicators.
We began our survey Thursday morning in Rumira, where we met the enthusiastic promotora Sylvia, who quickly led us to the first home on our route. After introducing ourselves, Sacred Valley Health (which operates under the Quechua name Ayni Wasi), and Sylvia as the new community health worker for Rumira, Leticia, Sylvia and I swiftly developed a comfortable rhythm for interviewing and recording responses. We worked our way through the lower parts of Rumira that border the larger town of Patacancha and went out into the vast countryside, led by competent Sylvia. In the afternoon, we stopped by several houses with no one at home, so we planned to make a return trip with Sylvia at another time of day. Next week we will survey three new communities with more to follow, so stay tuned!
– Written by Community Coordinator Lucy Paine