Identifying the Problems, Devising Solutions

As you’ve read in earlier blog posts, the Sacred Valley Health team uses GPS technology to map the communities we serve. When we record each household’s location, we ask a household member a series of survey questions that give us demographic data and information about factors (such as presence or absence of a chimney) that influence health. We link this data to the household’s GPS location coordinates in our records system. Mapping and surveying allows Sacred Valley Health to target its resources and curriculum to best serve these populations and address their most pressing health concerns. SVH staff were trained in this type of data collection by volunteers from Broad Street Maps last March, and we have carried on the process in the communities that joined us more recently.

SVH communities
Map of the communities served by Sacred Valley Health/ Ayni Wasi.

In addition to providing us with a snapshot of each community’s layout, demographics, and health needs, the maps and surveys are a resource that our promotoras (community health workers) use to carry out their work. We can mark a household where a pregnant woman lives, for example, so that the local promotoras can visit regularly and provide prenatal counseling. Our most recent round of surveys revealed that less than 20% of the households in our new communities have chimneys, and that in some places, less than 50% of children attend school. We also saw high rates of home birth and early ages of first pregnancy in the most isolated communities. These data will enable us to tailor our promotora training and other health education efforts to meet local needs.

Map of households in the community of Huilloc. We assign a code to each household, which enables us to link the location to health survey data.
Map of households in the community of Huilloc. We assign a code to each household, which enables us to link the location to health survey data.

Our data also shows which households report low knowledge and utilization of health resources (such as the government clinic) in the region. The promotoras can target health education to the families that need it most, and can accompany them to a government clinic when necessary. Because of a long history of discrimination against indigenous people, many of the people we serve are reluctant to access services at government clinics. SVH holds promotora training sessions at two government clinics in order to foster partnership between our community health workers and the nurses who staff those clinics. These relationships built at the capacitaciones (training sessions) empower the promotoras as links between their communities and the Ministry of Health’s system. They accompany sick community members to the clinic and ensure that they access available care.

Stay tuned for the upcoming post on Ollantaytambo’s anniversary celebration!

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