Health Promoters Prepare Palomas for COVID-19

Border Partners’ staff load food supplement boxes for distribution to families in need to strengthen their health and potential resistance to the pandemic.

We have good news: there have been no cases of COVID19 in Palomas (as of June 15). And, it may be, at least in part, due to the work of the Border Partners’ health promoters (promotoras). In March, when the virus became a threat, they quickly changed the focus of their work to helping needy families and vulnerable seniors weather this crisis.

Since then, thanks to the Paso del Norte Foundation and to Border Partners’ generous supporters, the four health promoters, assisted by Juan Rascon, have:

delivered a box of basic groceries and fresh vegetables, every two weeks to 20 needy families;

delivered a hot meal, five days each week, to 20 vulnerable seniors;

offered information about how to avoid contracting the COVID19 virus to the families and the seniors;

● opened their office Monday through Friday from 9 am to 12 pm, to offer screenings for depression and glucose levels and basic information about how to stay healthy during the pandemic, and

● earlier this year, helped the Mexican transit police screen people arriving into Palomas from the U.S.

In addition, they will soon be able to begin distributing masks. So far, this has been a missing piece of their prevention work. Now mask distribution will happen thanks to cooperation among three different groups begun under Border Partners! The women of Palomas OIlcloth Designs have agreed to make 200 masks at their cost. The Mexican nonprofit group, Amistad por Salud sin Fronteras, formed by local people involved with Border Partners agreed to pay for them. The Border Partners promotoras will distribute them!

One of the health promoters in Palomas, Gricelda Loya Loya, describes the great impact all this support makes on just one of those twenty families who receive the grocery supplement box:

One family in need, led by a single mom, holds their supplement box with appreciation and relief.

One of the families is that of “Doña L.” [editor’s note: name withheld]. She’s 70 years old and lives alone with her four grandchildren who are between two and nine years of age. Her situation is sad. She doesn’t have a job to support her grandchildren. And her daughter, the children’s mother, has been missing for two years. Since then, Doña L. has taken care of the children. She collects aluminum cans to sell so she can buy food. Every time we promotoras come to deliver the box of groceries, the children run out to meet us. They’re so happy to receive it. Doña L. thanks us very much for this help.”

Now, the COVID-19 situation has negatively affected her ability to support the grandchildren. She’s unable to find enough aluminum cans on the streets due to the shortages in the food and beverage supply chain. So, we promotoras are very happy to be able to help Doña L.. And, we’re pleased to see that the children so clearly appreciate this help that we bring to their family.”

Border Partners staff display the support that food baskets provide families in need. Their devoted work and the financial backing of our grantors and supporters make this possible.

Hello from the Health Promoters in Palomas!

promotora group

Palomas health promoters 2020. Back row, L to R:  Juana Flores, Gloria Aquilar, Gricelda Loya.  Front row, L to R: Victoria Ibarra and Cruz Espino

We’d like to introduce you to Border Partners’ Health Promoters (Promotoras). Thanks to your support, they’re active every day in Palomas helping keep people healthy. They do important work and deserve to have us all sing their praises!

Gricelda Loya

“Hello! My name is Gricelda Loya. I’m 34 years old, the same number of years that I’ve lived in Palomas! Yes, I was born here. I have four children. And they drive me to do my work each day. My three boys are 19, 16 and 8. My daughter is 11 years old. I also take care of my sister’s children. These six children are my motivation to teach residents of my community to maintain a healthy lifestyle and take care of their health. Thanks to Border Partners and your donations, this is possible.”

Gricelda (center) pictured with her children

“I was part of the original group of promotoras trained by Border Partners in 2012 and have continued working until now. We receive more training each year. For example, after we were trained about how to teach teenagers about healthy sexuality, another promotora and I started classes on sexuality for teenagers in Palomas.”

“My other job for Border Partners is Director of the Education Center where we have computers for people to use and classes to instruct them on their use.”

“I’m very grateful to be part of this great family called Border Partners. I like to learn and share what I learn, and I also love to help vulnerable people.”

Juana Flores

Juana

juana Flores bestows an award to a child for his healthy activity.

“Hello! My name is Juana Flores. I was born in the Valley of Zaragoza, Chihuahua, MX. I’m 45 years old. My husband and I have three children: two sons and a daughter. I’ve lived in Palomas for ten years and worked with Border Partners since February 2011, when I started helping with the garden program. When I began, the United States had just deported me to Mexico. I was very sad to be separated from my children who stayed in the U.S. with my mother. Working has helped me a lot.”

“I’ve been a promotora since 2012 and have learned many skills. I like my work because, in my community, families do not have a healthy diet and don’t get enough exercise. I think that, due to our health promotion work, people have learned a lot about nutrition and health. As a health promoter, I focus on learning about different health issues so I can teach others.”

“My favorite thing I do as a promotora is to teach Zumba classes!”

“My other area of work for Border Partners is supervising the garden program which coordinates very well with what we teach people about nutrition and the importance of eating healthy food.”

“Thank you for supporting our work in Palomas and for your confidence in me.”

Victoria (Vicky) Ibarra

Vicky ibarra

Delivering fresh garden vegetables to elderly residents is one of Vicky’s tasks.

“Hello, my name is Victoria (Vicky) Ibarra. I am originally from Oaxaca de Juárez. I’ve lived in Palomas for about nine years. My one daughter, Jennifer, is 15 years old and is a student at the College Preparatory High School. My husband, David, is a volunteer firefighter here in Palomas. We both like to serve the community.

Vicky grabs a selfie as she teaches a nutrition class to Palomas students.

Five years ago, I joined the Border Partners’ Health Promoters. I like this work that we do for the community, serving our older adults, children, and families who want our health knowledge. Before I came to Palomas, I worked as a volunteer Health Promoter in my rural community in southern Mexico. To all those people who support us, I want to thank you for everything you do for us. My family, also sends a cordial greeting.

Gloria Aguilar

gloria

Gloria snaps a selfie of the zumba class she’s leading.

“Hola! My name is Gloria Alicia Aguilar. I am from Chihuahua, Chihuahua, MX and have lived in Palomas for 23 years. I have four children – two daughters who are 20 and 19. My two sons are both 12! I am interested in educating my neighbors about health because my second daughter has had many illnesses since she the time she was born. Because I did not want to take her to the hospital so many times, I learned ways to take care of her at home (injections, using a nebulizer etc.) “

gloria family

Gloria (center) pictured with her family

“I love my job as a Health Promoter for Border Partners! It is difficult to choose one thing I like best but I would say knowing that I can help so many people to have a better quality of life is very pleasing to me.”

“For all the people that support Border Partners, I have so much gratitude for the great work you do for my community. It’s incredible to see the number of people who benefit thanks to you!”

Cruz Espino

“Hola! Hello! My name is Cruz Delia Simental Espino. I was born in the NIcolas Bravo municpality of Madera, Chihuahua, MX but I grew up in Cuidad Cuauhtémoc. I have lived for 30 years in Palomas and have two children, a son who is 29 and a daughter who is 20 years old. My work has always been helping people in my community. I feel very proud to belong to Border Partners because, like me, we all care about the welfare of people without discrimination. I am grateful for you believing in me and giving me the opportunity to perform my work in the interest of the people of Palomas. (The person who gives from the heart, multiplies with love.)”

Editor’s note: Cruz works with the Promotoras for about half of each year and works the other months in Deming at an agricultural processing plant. We first met her when she organized a group of neighbors to stop cars from driving through a city park near her house by digging a trench and standing old tires up in it to create a barrier. At the time, Border Partners was putting in play equipment including a climbing wall at that park.

Promotoras fight COVID-19 at border, in Palomas and beyond

covid19

Promotoras in personal protective equipment monitor temperatures at the port of entry.

promotoras fight covid19

Palomas Promotora Facebook post April 3, 2020

The Health Promoters (promotoras) in Palomas are now at the center of the local response to the COVID-19 virus. They work with the Palomas Health Center and government officials to soften the potential impact of the virus. The goal is to mitigate its spread. 

The health promoters (promotoras‘) training and experience prompted the project supervisor of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation to recommend their service in the fight of COVID-19. Thus, the Palomas Health Center engaged promotoras’ help and support during the COVID-19 contingency.

Promotoras work three hour shifts on days they can assist this effort. As part of their normal activity, they monitor temperatures of older adults in the Border Partners’ senior citizen program and of those who visit the office. 

Extraordinary Duties

But, in addition to their normal duties, the promotoras are screening people as they enter Mexico. Working with the Palomas police, the promotoras survey all border crossers. They check for anyone with elevated temperatures. Their presence supports the government health truck stationed immediately inside the Mexican border.

Any Mexican resident who registers a fever is placed on a two week quarantine. Border crossers from the United States who register a fever are turned back. Promotoras advise border crossers who present with any virus symptoms during the last seven days to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. They advise anyone who develops active symptoms to call 911 in their home community and follow local instructions.

Health Education 

The promoters provide prevention information for COVID-19 on their Facebook page. They meet with concerned people in their office, at the local health clinic. They respond to phone calls of residents who request information as well. The importance of social distancing and washing hands is their key focus. 

Nutrition Supplementation

Another component of the promotoras work is the delivery of food boxes. Twenty particularly needy families were identified as extremely food insecure. The promotoras deliver supplemental food allocations. In addition, they continue to deliver meals and monitor the health of many Palomas senior citizens.  We’ll will write more about these activities in our next website post, coming soon.

Border Partners’ 12th Semi-Annual Health Fair – 12a Feria de salud semestral de Border Partners

healthy exercise

The 12th annual Health Fair is a celebration of good health in Palomas.

Free haircuts

Join us Friday April 26th, from 10am to 4pm, at the main plaza in Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico!
There will be FREE diabetes, hypertension and HIV detection, children and adult vaccinations, anti-rabies vaccinations, oral health screenings, renewal of insurance, healthy burritos, cardiovascular exercises (ZUMBA), activities for children, family planning counseling, advice on nutrition (NUTRIOLOGO), addiction counseling (CAPA – Addiction Care Center), eyesight testing, gardening tips, and haircuts! ALL FOR FREE!

Download flier in English HERE

displays and consultations

Displays and consultations

¡Únase a nosotros el viernes 26 de abril, de 10am a 4pm, en la plaza principal de Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua, México!
Habra GRATIS detecciones de diabetes, hipertensión y VIH, para niños y adulto vacunación y antirrábica, detecciones de salud bucal, Afiliación Y renovación del SEGURO POPULAR, Demostración del burrito saludable, Ejercicios cardiovascular (ZUMBA), Actividades para niños (JUEGOS), Asesoría de planificación familiar, Asesoría en nutrición (NUTRIOLOGO, Asesoría en adicciones, (CAPA – Centro de Atención para Adicciones), Detecciones de la vista, Jardinería, Concurso para niños de talento, y Corte de cabello, TODO GRATIS!

Descarga el folleto aquí

Health fair flier 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

espanol health fair 2019

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.