Community Health Worker Training

Last Friday, we went up to Patakancha to observe this month’s promotore (community health worker) training. We left at 6 am and drove for about an hour and a half along washed out roads to reach the community, pushing the car through the mud at some points. After unloading the supplies and dropping off most of the SVH staff, Emmy and I accompanied Laticia, SVH’s Peruvian nurse, and the driver, Ruben, up to el Puerto. “The Door” refers to a huge mountain pass 45 minutes further up in the mountains. The drive was spectacular – we passed little houses, fields, and dozens of sheep, horses, and alpaca grazing, all set among enormous green mountains with snow-capped peaks poking through the clouds in the distance.

Picking up promotores at El Puerto

Picking up promotores at El Puerto

Drinking some chocolotada before the training -- everybody gets some!

Drinking some chocolotada before the training -- everybody gets some!

The training itself started off with a little meet-and-greet time, and everybody drank chocolotada, which is a warm drink made of oats, water, chocolate, bananas and condensed milk that’s heavy in carbohydrates and absolutely delicious. The SVH staff then conducted one-on-one post-tests with the promotores, to assess how much they’d retained from last month’s training on the treatment of cough, hypothermia, and vomiting. They also do pre-tests to assess how much the workers knew about this month’s hygiene unit, before beginning the 3-hour long training. We helped out with a few of the skits, using flour to represent “germs” on our hands, and demonstrating how easily they spread to other hands, cups, food, etc. We also acted as patients, pretending to have hypothermia or a bad cough, so the promotores could identify and treat our conditions. After the training, we all ate a big yummy lunch together before heading down the mountain. It was great to meet the promotores and see what the trainings are actually like!

Laticia teaching the hygiene unit at the Patakancha health post

Laticia teaching the hygiene unit at the Patakancha health post

This week, we’re working to input lots of data and make some maps for the Piscacucho pilot we conducted last week. We also had a little bit of excitement last night when a massive tree took down the power lines, cutting out all of the electricity in the town for more than 12 hours. Picked our way along the pitch black cobbled streets and had a nice candlelit supper before going to bed early in preparation for a busy week!

Group hand washing demonstrations

Group hand washing demonstrations