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
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