New Beginnings

Last Friday, SVH/Ayni Wasi staff jumped into two combis to go to the Chillca Posta for the first official training of our second group of promotoras (community health workers). Prior to heading to posta, one group went to pick up promotoras from the higher altitude communities of Rayan, Soccma, Marcuray, and Rumira. Another group went straight to the posta to start making chocolatada, a traditional breakfast made with oats, chocolate, cinnamon, sugar, and bananas.

The Chilcca Posta, site of many of our promotora training sessions.
The Chillca Posta, site of the promotora training session.

When all the promotoras had arrived, they began with a pre-test of the topics that would be covered: hand washing, toothbrushing, and the signals of alarm (warning signs) for pregnant women. These topics were selected based on community needs assessments that we conducted in July and August. High prevalence of intestinal parasites and dental cavities pointed to the need for hand washing and toothbrushing training, and some tragic maternal deaths indicated the need for promotoras to be able to recognize signs of alarm in pregnant women.

The promotoras warmed up with cups of hot chocolatada, bread, and bananas while they got to know the SVH Community Coordinators and each other. Once the pre-tests and breakfast were complete, the promotoras were officially welcomed to the program by SVH Program Director Becca, nurse Leticia, and Rosa, who is the Chilcca Posta’s Director of Prevention and Health Promotion. Becca and Leticia reviewed the promotoras’ role and responsibilities, which they also discussed at the orientation session the previous week. Promotoras received their curriculum folders, fichas (patient intake forms), and secondary presentation forms. (These are forms that document the presentations that promotoras give to community groups, such as mothers’ clubs and weaving cooperatives, outside of general assemblies.)

After we went over the program structure and materials, Community Coordinator Stewart taught the promotoras how to wash their hands properly, how to brush their teeth, and how to teach these topics to their fellow community members. Rosa from the Chillca Posta then capped off the educational experience by teaching the promotoras to recognize the signals of alarm for pregnant women. This knowledge empowers the promotoras to identify signs of health problems for pregnant women and indicators of impending labor, and to refer those women to the posta.

Finally, after taking in all of the day’s information, the promotoras practiced what they learned in different stations pictured below.

Stewart teaches the promotoras proper toothbrushing technique.
Stewart teaches the promotoras proper toothbrushing technique.
Promotoras review handwashing with Community Coordinator Lucy.
Promotoras review handwashing with Community Coordinator Lucy.
Sarah and Elly
Leticia, Sarah, and Elly review signs of alarm with a new promotor and promotora.

The day ended with a wonderfully filling meal of lentils, rice, and salad.  We said our thank yous and goodbyes to the Chillca Posta staff and headed home, looking forward to the next training on September 27th. Stay tuned to hear more about our new promotoras!

– Ayo (Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator)

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