University of Rochester’s First Week of Health Campaigns

Last week was a busy one for Sacred Valley Health staff and our volunteers from University of Rochester School of Nursing. After settling into their homestays on Monday afternoon and jumping into Spanish class, the nursing students came into the office Tuesday morning ready to work. We began with a few cultural exercises to prepare them to work in our rural Andean cultural environment. Afterwards, the group made posters for the health education teaching stations they would run. They prepared four stations: Basic Hygiene, Hydration & Nutrition, Dental Hygiene, and Reproductive Health (for students in 5th grade or older). In addition to providing much-needed health education, the nursing students would be performing a physical exam on each child.

Piscacucho students washing their hands with the Tippy Tap.
Piscacucho students washing their hands with the Tippy Tap.

On Wednesday, the Rochester team kicked off the first of their four health campaigns in the community of Piscacucho, where our promotora Elsa works. The primary school has 50 kids, and the day started with a group basic hygiene lesson that focused on adequate hand washing and bathing. Afterwards, 5th and 6th grade students split into groups of boys and girls for reproductive health education; they each learned about the changes that their bodies will go through.

During the rest of the day, students in all grades cycled through dental hygiene (proper tooth brushing and fluoride treatments), nutrition (balanced diets and the importance of water), and physicals. Most of the children were in good health, but the nurses made one referral to Kausay Wasi, a low-cost clinic that provides high quality care. The child was referred for strabismus, an eye condition, and hopefully he will have the chance to participate in Kausay Wasi’s June eye surgery campaign.

Piscacucho student playing interactive hygiene game.
Piscacucho student playing interactive hygiene game.
Basic hygiene presentation to Tancacc students.
Basic hygiene presentation to Tancacc students.

On Thursday, the nursing students held their second campaign in the community of Tancacc, which is adjacent to Pampallacta. Local promotoras Escolastica and Sonia were on hand to help out. The Tancacc primary school had 30 kids (including promotora Sonia’s own daughter!) and the campaign ran similarly to Wednesday’s campaign. The nurses made three referrals to Kausay Wasi for complaints including excessive hand warts, vision problems, and an eye condition caused by a botched eye surgery.

SVH Nurse Leticia translating hygiene lesson to Tancacc students.
SVH Nurse Leticia translating hygiene lesson to Tancacc students.

Thank you to the University of Rochester Nursing Students for your hard work last week; two campaigns down, two more to go!

Please continue to follow our health campaign progress on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

– Written by Ayo Oti

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