New promotoras, new interns, new maps

Last Monday, Sacred Valley Health staff traveled to Soccma, a one hour drive from Ollantaytambo, where we welcomed two more locally-elected promotoras (community health workers) into our program. Roxana, from Soccma, and Bertha, from Rafka, join eight other new promotoras who started training last month. Including the promotoras who started with us over a year ago in September 2012, SVH is currently training a total of 20 promotoras in 14 communities.

Monday’s training in Soccma covered hand washing and oral hygiene as well as an introduction to First Aid. Roxana and Bertha took easily to their first Sacred Valley Health training and were welcomed by promotoras Valentina and Ignacia, who live and work in nearby communities. They will join up with the rest of the new promotoras at Friday’s training.

New promotora Roxana
New promotora Roxana

After lunch, Sacred Valley Health interns and promotoras set out in two teams  to map the communities of Soccma and Rafka. We use GPS devices to map each community we serve, linking location data to information from household surveys. Promotoras and SVH interns  conduct household surveys by interviewing a resident of each household. The data we collect  includes the number of people per household, water sources, food sources, and hygiene practices. We ask about health-related matters of concern, and the responses enable us to zero in on local health issues. Since the Soccma and Rafka promotoras were only recently elected, these were the last communities in our new group to be mapped and surveyed.

New promotora Bertha with her mother. Bertha’s house was the first house of the day to be mapped.
New promotora Bertha with her mother.
Bertha speaking with her 83 year old neighbor, Francisca. Grandson in the background
Bertha speaking with her 83 year old neighbor, Francisca. Her grandson is in the background.
The lady of the second house in Rafka that we visited. She lives with her 75 year old husband. No chimney, no bathroom, no schooling.

In recent weeks, SVH has not only welcomed a new group of promotoras, but three new interns, too. Brooke and Sarah will be working as community coordinators for the next eight months. Daniel is on a pre-medical studies exchange from Dartmouth College, and will be helping Sacred Valley Health’s community coordinators for three months. The new promotoras, new interns, and the new household surveys make Sacred Valley’s office especially vibrant.

Daniel and Sarah working looking at educational materials with the new promotoras.
Daniel and Sarah working with the new promotoras.

Everybody here at Sacred Valley Health is looking forward to Friday’s community health worker training at the Chilcca posta. The promotoras will expand their knowledge of First Aid, and we’ve got a recording of “La Camisa Negra” by Juanes lined up as the musical beat for practicing CPR compressions.

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