Fall 2017 Health Fair in Palomas

fall 2017 health fair

A Palomas mother brings her daugher to the Fall 2017 Health Fair in Palomas for a screening

The Promotoras (Health Promoters) in Palomas held their fall 2017 health fair on Saturday October 28. While the Promotoras work year around to provide medical screening services and education to local residents, this biannual event has proved to be a good way to bring awareness to health issues and recruit new clients by providing a fun and entertaining atmosphere.

An estimated 350 people attended Saturday’s event in the main plaza, which was vibrating with activity and color. The street was lined with booths selling craft items made from recycled materials, the health screening tent, burrito stand and a bounce house for children. Another attraction was a Matachines dance troupe from the San Judas Tadeo church in Juarez and a display of zumba dancing.

Fall 2017 Health Fair Improvements

This year, the Promotoras used a new system to encourage people to take advantage of their health screening services. After their screening, residents received a ticket they could exchange for a healthful vegetarian burrito stuffed with beans and fresh, multi-colored vegetables. With help from 15 students from the telebachillerato school, the Promotoras served 240 vegetarian burritos.

matachines

The matachines added a colorful, joyous dance to the Fall 2017 Health Fair in Palomas.

Palomas Health Promoters Complete Training on Maternal Care and Childbirth

By Griselda Loya

The Promotoras (health promoters) recently completed a wonderful course, 36 hours in total, which trained us in methods that will equip us to serve as a “Childbirth Companion.” This training covered basic principles of promoting better maternal health, childbirth safety, and assistance and accompaniment.

This course was taught by Border Maternity Midwives-Borderlands Birth and Reproductive Health Service, health and birth workers, and Reproductive Justice Organizers.

During the course we learned many things, including:

  • technique demo

    Ruth Kauffman (sitting) watches as Mumu demonstrates an effective technique to make women more comfortable.

    massage techniques for the pregnant woman,

  • how to distinguish between common symptoms of normal discomfort during pregnancy and significant signs of risk,
  • typical feelings and emotions during and after delivery,
  • breastfeeding,
  • family planning,
  • sexually transmitted diseases,
  • myths and realities of pregnancy,
  • breastfeeding and newborn, and
  • how to support the physiological delivery and epidemic of caesarean section.

Maternal Health, Childbirth 

Now that we have this training, our goal is to support local families. We especially want to accompany our adolescent mothers through maternity. Our hope is to achieve more prenatal control from the outset, thus reducing maternal death during childbirth.

We are very happy and grateful to receive the opportunity to take this course and above all to have met people who dedicate their time to such valuable work.

Thanks to Borders Partners, Ruth Kauffman and her assistants: Mumu, Marisol, Lina, Carmen, Sandra, Estibalis, and Tania who made this opportunity for us possible.

certificates

The promotoras display their hard-earned certificates with pride, joy and flowers. Pictured (l-r): Ruendy Salinas, Griselda Loya, Aide Carreon, Juana Flores, and Victoria Ibarra.

EDITOR’s NOTE: As a follow up to their most recent training in maternal health and childbirth, the Palomas promotoras (health promoters) will convene two groups of women.

The first group they will assist is women who are presently pregnant. This group will focus on prenatal care, nutrition for the developing fetus and the new moms themselves. They will also teach them appropriate exercise and similar relevant topics.

Another group they will convene will be new moms. This group will focus on nutrition for both the new baby and mothers, breastfeeding, etc.

Certified Professional Midwife Ruth Kauffman (a former UNM labor and delivery nurse) has experience working with women’s health around the world. Since 2008, Ruth has worked with Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) as a nurse, midwife, project coordinator and medical team leader on 11 missions in eight different countries. In 2014, she returned to the US from two Ebola missions in Sierra Leone.

Palomas Promotoras’ Town 20 Mile Bike Race: “Pure, Happy Fun” and Healthy Exercise

 

children's bike race

Local children line up, anxiously awaiting the Mayor’s signal to begin their race on February 4.

by Helena Myers

Palomas awoke on Saturday, February 4 to weather perfect for a biking event: sunny and mild, with no wind. Perfect timing for a 20 mile bike race! The grand event was sponsored by the local governments of Ascensión and Palomas and by Border Partners’ promotoras (local health promoters). The day featured the adult 20 mile bike race. Two shorter bike races–for children and young teens—gave 70 youth their chance to participate.

The adult race began at Entronque, 20 miles south of Palomas at 9:20 AM and finished at the plaza. The children’s route circled several blocks of the village. Government officials gave money prizes to winners with the help of an anonymous donor.

Palomas mayor Ramon Rodriques signaled the start of one childrens’ race. One little girl and bike immediately fell. But the Mayor ran to her and lifted both her and her bike–and off she rode. A couple of village men on bikes led the way to keep the biker competitors on course.

Viki and Ramon

Karina (Viki) Gonzales–women’s 2nd place winner–and Ramon Preciado, men’s 1st place winner, both from Palomas, after the races.

During the younger race Border Partners’ staffer Juana Flores ran after the children to ensure that they stayed on course. Juana appeared to be even more excited than the children. A multitude of village spectators echoed this same mood as they cheered on the racers.

The first adult to finish the 20 miler was Ramon Preciado with a time of 1 hr. 6 min. 27 sec.  The second place winner was Ramon’s son, Alejandro Preciado with a time of 1 hr. 8 min. 1 sec. Third place winner was Ingeniero Palomares and taking first place on a mountain bike was Ruben Bailon.

In the women’s division, Ruth Hernandez from Acension earned first place with Karina V. Gonzales from Palomas taking second.

The promotoras served wedges of fresh oranges and bananas for the riders and provided many cups of juice at the finish line.

The 20 mile bike race event day was the best organized event ever in this border village, serving up pure, happy fun for the community participants and spectators.

juice at finish line

Juana Flores (right) serves juice at the finish line of the 20 mile bike race.

Promotoras protect teens through classes in healthy sexuality

healthy sexuality classmates

Teens in Palomas pose with posters they created during class.

by Gricelda Loya, Palomas health promoters (promotoras)

On July 2, 2016, Juana Flores and I began presenting two workshops each week in healthy sexuality for adolescents of our community of Palomas. Topics include the prevention of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Right now, we have two groups of 13 adolescents each, both boys and girls–between 15 and 18 years of age.  All of the students are very interested in learning about these issues and participate actively in the classes.

Goal of Healthy Sexuality Classes

Our goal for these classes is that young people who attend the workshops will help us spread the importance of making their actions more responsible. For example, they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and from unwanted pregnancy, and use adequate contraception correctly.

With these classes we hope to reduce the number of pregnancies among adolescents in Palomas. This also will reduce the number of these children leaving school without graduating.

healthy sexuality class

Griselda (left) keeps class interactive and interesting as teens learn basic information and life skills.

Promotoras provide services to 200 at 2016 Health Fair

oral exam

Palomas residents received many health services free of charge at the 2016 Health Fair.

Our Promotoras (Health Promoters) 2016 Health Fair took place “front and center” in Palomas’ main plaza. Approximately 200 Palomas residents took advantage of a wide range of services given freely to people of all ages.

Promotoras provided tetanus vaccinations and glucose tests to fair participants. They also gave away 60 containers of Folic Acid and over 150 condoms. Local dentist, Dr. Karla of American Dental, provided free oral health examinations. Palomas firemen vaccinated 50 dogs for rabies. Staff from Prevemovil performed health evaluations. These evaluations identified 15 people at risk for nutritional and medical problems.

The 2016 Health Fair also highlighted the importance of good nutrition and exercise. The Promotoras prepared and served 200 nutritious vegetarian burritos. Local children enjoyed jumping on trampolines. They also participated in footraces and other physical activities.

Community Support

The Fairs also owes its success to the assistance that several groups and individuals gave the Promotoras.

  • The Binational Health Council (COBINA) covered the cost of materials and supplies for the Fair with their generous funding.
  • Scott Davies of Columbus donated a new shade shelter.
  • Peppers Supermarket contributed a significant 50% discount on all food served at the fair.
  • Needy local residents left the Fair carrying bags of pinto beans, thanks to a tremendous donation from Diaz Farms.

Despite some problems with the electrical service, the Promotoras successfully presented models of good nutrition and physical activity at the 2016 Health Fair. Their efforts promote positive changes in the health habits of the community.

 

Promotora activity improves Palomas public health

bicycle rodeo

Palomas youth jumped at the challenge of completing a bicycle rodeo course organized by the promotoras.

Our Palomas promotoras (health promoters) are working almost nonstop with activities designed to improve various aspects of public health. Their enthusiasm runs high, and the town responds enthusiastically to a slate of activities that improve the quality of life. Here’s a snapshot look at some of their recent accomplishments:

Spring Health Fair

food at fair

Folks devoured the healthy burritos prepared by the promotoras.

Our new Sports Center site held the promotoras Spring Health Fair event on April 14. The event included healthy food, activities and fun.

Promotoras distributed their healthy burritos, along with popcorn and fruit–with ingredients provided by the COBINA/Binational Health Commission).

The 250 attendees received, free of any charges:

  • flu shots for adults and
  • vaccinations for children,
  • rabies vaccine for dogs and even
  • personal haircuts.

The local gardeners also participated in the fair, distributing tomato seedlings and lots of vegetable seeds to attendees. Soccer and volleyball games during the event provided healthy activity for adults and children.

Bicycle Rodeo and Family Ride

Gran Bicicleteada

Flier advertises the first spring family bike ride.

On April 17, the promotoras organized their first Bike Rodeo for local kids. The event gave our youth a chance to ride their bikes over a dirt course with bumps, twists and jumps–even a water hazard! Not only does this provide healthy exercise, the event also promotes positive community involvement and positive interactions with local adults.

On April 21, promotoras slated their first family bicycle ride of the season. The public was invited to meet at Ford School at 6 PM to launch another spring fun ride. This family-friendly event gets the community together for active, healthy fun. Many participants use bicycles that Border Partners supporters have donated for the town’s use.

Nutrition Classes & More

Bean distribution

Bean distribution

Promotoras also prepared and conducted six nutrition classes each month this year as part of the HEAL grant we received from the Paso Del Norte Health Foundation. They offer a continuing class for 40 women who attend one session each month.  The course started in January with classes on the importance of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. February’s focus was healthy grains. March lessons considered the value of dairy products, and April’s classes took on the necessity of protein.

Thanks to a donation of a 2,000 pound bag of dried pinto beans from family-owned Diaz Farms in Deming, NM,  the promotoras were able to deliver 20 pound bags of beans to 85 needy seniors and other families in Palomas. These recipients were grateful for this tremendous supplement to their diets.

In addition to special activities, health promoters provide regular office hours to the residents of Palomas. In a donated storefront space, their office is open from 9AM-12 PM, Monday through Friday. They offer free health checks and information. The promotoras also hold regularly scheduled meetings there to plan their activities, discuss their services and coordinate their programming in Palomas.

Health promotoras educate Palomas residents about nutrition

nutrition class

Nutrition classes offer participants meals that highlight nutrition basics. This class ends with a healthy meal that participants make and share.

For several years, the gardeners and health promotoras in Palomas saw a need to offer nutrition classes to educate residents in Palomas. Understanding why it’s important to eat certain foods provides reason and motivation to eat them. This educational component became even more important as the gardens in Palomas flourished. We noticed that people didn’t always know how to use the new foods they had available.

Now a grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation has made it possible for our health promotoras to offer nutrition classes for 40 families this year. They use a curriculum called  Eating Smart Being Active developed by faculty in the Extension Divisions at Colorado State University at Fort Collins and the University of California, Davis.  The curriculum includes eight lessons, seven of which the promotoras use. (One lesson, developed specifically for people who shop in regular supermarkets with sales, doesn’t apply to our situation.)

The curriculum provides a teacher’s handbook in Spanish and participant handouts.  Our six promotoras have divided the lessons among themselves. Teams of two each teach two lessons.

esba logoCurriculum topics include lessons centered on:

  • eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and dairy,
  • the importance of choosing lean protein, and
  • limiting sugar and fat in the diet.

Each lesson includes an exercise break and teaches people about the importance of getting regular exercise.  Students also get a chance to taste different foods and in some lessons to make a healthy dish.

The curriculum is designed to encourage student participation with the hope that will give people ideas about how to incorporate the changes into their lives. When classes are interactive and directly relevant, it makes the learning practical.

In addition to offering the Eating Smart Being Active curriculum, the promotoras teach many other classes on health topics. Besides offering other nutrition classes, they offer instruction on other topics, covering subjects ranging from self-esteem and stress management to family planning, personal hygiene, and accident prevention. Promotoras implement this curriculum, developed by the Mexican government, in conjunction with the government health clinic in Palomas. Low income families who receive a bimonthly food allotment are required to complete the classes in that series.

Palomas health promotoras open a new office

new office

Promotoras of health in Palomas, a grassroots corps of community volunteers to improve health, have opened a new office, providing a permanent presence. They provide health services such as blood pressure monitoring, as seen here.

The community health promoters (promotoras) of Puerto Palomas have opened an office to serve as their headquarters as well as an office from which they will serve the public. Centrally located in Palomas, the office allows the promotoras to offer regular office hours to the public. Promotoras will provide health services of blood sugar monitoring and blood pressure testing and provide health information there. All services and information are free of charge.

The new promotora office is clean, attractive and outfitted with health equipment and literature. Tables and chairs offer an environment conducive to health education meetings. With a computer and printer, the promotoras are able to produce documents and administrate their program. For a virtual tour of the new health office, visit our photo set on Flickr.

posting signIn a small community like Palomas, word of mouth will quickly spread the news of this new source of health assistance, consultation and first aid. However the promotoras also proactively engaged local artist Dagoberto Rodriguez to produce a display sign to clearly designate their office. We were on the scene to see the sign installed.

The promotoras designed a plan of action for 2014 which outlines their ambitious goals and upcoming activities. Ongoing fundraising will let them carry out their projects and potentially add internet service to their office. Promotoras seek that ongoing financial support from the Palomas business community.

The promotoras have also done a remarkable job of securing the contributions of pro bono services for Palomas children in need from local dentists and opticians.

The Columbus Luna County Palomas Binational Health Council (COBINA) provides major funding for the promotoras activities in Palomas.  Border Partners supplements that funding by matching the contributions that the promotoras themselves raise in Palomas. Border Partners is proud to provide financial help to underwrite these activities that improve public health. Donations to Border Partners that are designated to further the promotoras‘ work are welcome.