Promotora group trained to combat disease, promote wellness in Palomas

promotoras focus on Mexico's health crisis

Health promoters, called Promotoras, focus on addressing Mexico’s health crisis during recent training in Palomas

Hypertension and diabetes are epidemic in Mexico. Seventeen million people ages 20-69 are diagnosed with hypertension.  Fourteen million adults have high cholesterol or triglycerides and six million more have diabetes 2. All of these diseases are related to being overweight! All of them can be prevented by making different personal choices.

These stunning facts opened the second training sponsored by Border Partners of a group of Promotoras (Health Educators) on August 27-29 in Palomas. Mexico’s health status underlines the importance of equipping citizens to meet epidemic needs. Three days of training last month launched these new trainees with:

  • a basic understanding of hypertension and diabetes,
  • skills empowering the new promotoras to assess disease risk factors, and
  • updated recommendations from professionals on disease prevention and control.

The trainees were active learners, using a “hands-on” approach and valuing their opportunity to learn the use of genuine medical instruments to measure blood pressure and blood sugar.

promotora measures blood sugar

Mayela takes Josefina’s glucose during the promotora training, using an authentic medical glucometer.

The promotoras also learned the Five Steps Program, an effort in Mexico to raise public awareness of the steps individuals can take to improve their own health and avoid hypertension and diabetes. The Five Steps/Cinco Pasos are:

  1. Move!  Get more exercise:  30 minutes per day for adults, 60 minutes per day for children.
  2. Drink water!  5-10 glasses each day. Dehydration plays a big part in the development of chronic disease.
  3. Eat vegetables and fruits!
  4. Maintain good emotional health!
  5. Share information with others!

The promotoras are now equipped with several strategies for lowering the numbers of people with chronic health problems in their community. The training emphasized utilizing education campaigns, screening events, exercise classes, and support groups as grassroots efforts that will address these health needs.

The promotora group received their initial training in June. Border Partners is pleased to be part of the process of advancing health through community action.

Promotora training group and trainers, August 2012

Promotora training group and trainers, August 2012

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.