Puerto Palomas Health Promoters focus on children with special needs

child development classes

Mothers receive training on how best to support the development of their children with special needs at child development classes in Puerto Palomas. Our health promoters augment this effort and participate in offering the classes.

The health promoter [promotora] group of seven women works closely with the staff of the town’s Health Center [Centro de Salud] to extend health education and health enhancing activities into the daily lives of the townspeople. Border Partners, which provides direct support and resources and finds training opportunities for these women, is pleased with their recent new focus on assisting families of children with developmental disabilities and special needs.

As part of this effort, the promotoras visit homes of families identified or considered likely to benefit from these supportive services. The promoters conduct a health survey, appearing at the doors of the families and asking to visit the parent(s) to conduct a short interview. They

Dra. Lina Carrasco

Doctor Lina Carrasco (top) of the local clinic in Puerto Palomas demonstrates to moms how best to promote child development.

inquire as to the needs of the household, asking, for instance:

  • Do any of the children have special needs?
  • Are the children moving, walking, speaking, responding appropriately for their age?
  • Would the household benefit from receiving a food supplement basket?

Questions are suggested by the Mexican government and responses recorded for the town clinic.

As a result of the survey, families have already experienced benefits. Infants and children with motor disabilities, for instance, are receiving direct assistance at classes that teach parents how to stimulate greater development. Gricelda Loya, local leader of the promotoras, reports that even one class session can produce rather dramatic improvements in infants. Early identification and early intervention can promote lasting improvement.

Gricelda trained in Casas Grandes, Mexico to learn the stimulation exercises that they are teaching the mothers.  She has subsequently taught some of the other health promoters who have added this project to their regular activities which include:

  • regular hours at their Palomas office during which they can provide health advice, check blood pressure and glucose levels and make referrals to the Centro de Salud;
  • monthly visits to the town meal site to check blood pressure and glucose;
  • twice yearly health fairs;
  • assisting clinic staff with registering families for services.

This weekend they will administer flu and tetanus vaccines at the Christmas event in town.

Photos by Gricelda Loya, leader of Puerto Palomas health promoters

BONUS: Photos of moms, children and healthy learning on our Flickr Album by Gricelda Loya

Palomas Health Fair combined action, education and enjoyment

by Polly Edmunds

glucose screening

Promotoras offered free screenings for blood glucose levels at the free Health Fair in Palomas. The boy in the foreground is examining a box of free children’s vitamins that was distributed at the event.

The Promotoras and Centro Salud staff deserve hearty congratulations for conducting a wonderful health fair last Saturday, April 13 in the Central Park in Palomas.  Both groups together planned an ambitious list of activities. Thanks to their hard work, everything ran smoothly.  A big thank you goes to COBINA–the Binational Health Council–for providing the funding that made it possible!

healthy burritos

People loved the free, healthy burritos that the Promotoras served.

The Promotoras checked blood pressure and glucose levels. They also served free burritos on whole wheat tortillas with vegies from their gardens plus donated ones they received from stores in town. The grocery stores also donated fresh fruit and bottled water so that was available, as well.

Thanks to Healthy Start in Deming, they were able give some prizes to children for participating, as well as pamphlets on health topics to their parents.  Books are Gems, an El Paso nonprofit organization, also donated some children’s books to give away.

Dr. Carrasco and her assistant administered free rabies shots for many local dogs. They also brought children’s vitamins, Border Binational Health Week caps, and lots of literature to give away.

zumba session

Marisol Guillen offered free zumba lessons to enthusiastic participants.

Zumba sessions through the day and a jumping cage set up for the kids were very popular!

In addition, the Promotoras asked students from the beauty school in town to give free haircuts.  Many people who had not been able to have a haircut for a long time were very happy to receive this service.

This health fair was very successful and I hope it will prove to be the first of many joint projects for Centro Salud and the Promotoras.

Click this link to view a survey of photos from the day at our Flickr site. You will see what I mean!

COBINA, the health fair event sponsor, is the Columbus, Luna County, Palomas regional health council. We appreciate their support so much.

Promotora training in Palomas: Another step toward creating an engaged community [slideshow]

Promotora (health promoter) training sessions occurred in Pto. Palomas, Chihuahua, MX on June 6-8.  The trainer team of medical experts traveled to Palomas to equip a group of 12 local trainees to engage their community to work together at the grassroots level to promote a healthy environment and raise community health standards .

The six session program began on the first day with an introduction to the working of health promoters and a consideration of what factors determine the health of a community.  After lunch, participants learned about the importance of good nutrition and physical activity.  The trainers led a fun session of aerobic exercise.

The following morning began with a group exercise followed by a presentation on the elements of good personal hygiene and basic sanitation for the community.  Trainees formed three team, each of which prepared a presentation about a different element of hygiene:  personal, home or community hygiene.  After time to prepare a poster, each group presented their ideas to the group.  At the end of the morning, the trainers presented information about the booklets that are used in Mexico to track an individual’s health information.

That afternoon a presentation about preventing addictions to tobacco, alcohol and drugs was followed by a “Jeopardy” type game using questions about drugs, alcohol and tobacco use and addiction.

The final training day covered the prevention of traffic accidents and considered mental health with a good individual exercise looking over one’s life for the good and the bad events that had been influential.  The final session was on responsible sexuality.  After a presentation of information, three groups were challenged to develop a poster and presentation about a related topic.

The trainees valued their experience and look forward to addressing issues that negatively affect Palomas health. The issue of debris and the prompt removal of dead animals in the town may be a potential first concerted effort for the new promotoras.

The principal promotora trainer was Dra. Elisa Aguilar Jimenez, Coordinadora Oficina Chihuahua from Comision de Salud Fronteriza  Mx-EU. She was assisted by Enf. Sigifredo Pena Flores, Coordinator of Promotion of Health, State of Chihuahua, MX; Lic. Estella Aizpuru Gardea, Coordinator of School and Health Programs, State of Chihuahua, MX; and Lic. Liliana G.  Trejo Rodríguez, Adjunct Coordinator of School and Health Programs, State of Chihuahua, MX.


Promotora training opens another avenue to improve Palomas

Twelve Palomas women completed a training for Health Educators (Promotoras) in Palomas on June 6-8. Border Partners and the Columbus, Luna County, Palomas Binational Health Council (COBINA) co-sponsored the event, funded also by the Ben Archer Health Center.  The Office of Border Health in Juarez, led by Dr. Elisa Aguilar, conducted the training.

The concept of “health” was presented in a very broad-based context. Training considered the multitude of factors in a community that promote wellness for its members. In addition to attention to health problems and diseases, these factors might also include, for instance, the presence of health services, sanitation, environmental factors, such as the presence of dust in the air, and the community’s level of health-knowledge and health-awareness.

Border Partners co-founder Polly Edmunds, who also participated in the three-day promotora training, was excited by the evident commitment of the twelve Palomas women trainees who, “despite sweltering heat, persevered through three full days of training.” Polly also observed that the women themselves are “excited about the possibilities for change for their community.”

Palomas promotora training group

Palomas promotora training group, June 2012

Trainers encouraged the participants to design and present community workshops that:

  • empower the townspeople to develop the capacity to express their needs;
  • identify and define their problems;
  • design strategies of participation and
  • organize effectively to address the issues that affect the community’s health.

Workshops that the newly-trained promotoras will design will help townspeople reflect on health risks that confront their state and community. Workshop participants will identify health issues that affect their community and learn strategies to counteract those health risks.

Health promoters can expose problems in a community and ask the proper authority to make changes.

Newly-trained promotora Chayo Covarrobias declared that her dream was to have a “healthy and clean community,” a sentiment to which most of group agreed.  Benita Saenz added that she would like to see the day “when people drive through Palomas and want to visit because it is a pleasant place.”  Others expressed that they would like a community characterized by greater employment opportunities and “less illness.”

“The trainers stressed the idea that change starts with yourself. It’s easy to blame everyone else. People need to organize,” concluded Polly Edmunds.