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Dec. 18, 2013
Health Promoters: Community Health Workers or Madres Monitoras from Tijuana, California or Guatemala
In September of this year, I had the opportunity of my life by being a part of a wonderful experience; a journey that impacted me not only professionally but also in my personal life.
Working with Promotoras Comunitarias in Tijuana, Mexico for 10 years as a general practitioner and a member of a health team that included physicians, nurses and promotoras, was an essential skill that I brought with me to California 13 years ago. In March of 2003 the Latino Health Promoter Program offered me the opportunity to share my past experience by taking part in coordinating a group of 12 Health Promoters and a large number volunteers who are currently providing various resources designed for the Latino Community of the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys.
But all this know-how tools were not satisfying enough in sharing them with Promotoras in California. My skills took me to Guatemala, more specific to Alta Verapaz and Granadilla, a small village where seven Madres Monitoras serve their community with passion and lots of love.
Medical Team International (MTI), a nonprofit organization imparts education to more than 250 Madres Monitoras throughout different villages in Guatemala. They make available education to the Madres Monitoras in relation to infection, respiratory disease, diarrhea, and nutrition for mothers and infants. This information is replicated to the families who live in their village. These women who are not only part of their communities but also have equal needs for their families however; they work with such passion and love educating and in the prevention of illnesses; not only for their families but also for the village and for their country as a whole. They are working towards health that will reflect in the entire Health System of Guatemala.
This December, Providence Health International offered the opportunity to two Madre Promotoras, coordinators from Guatemala of MTI to participate in the 2013 Health Promoters State Conference which took place in Los Angeles. During these seven days, I had the opportunity to learn more in relation to the work and coordination of the Madres Monitoras programs in Guatemala.
The connection and relationship of Providence Health & Services and MTI is a remarkable opportunity for sharing not only our experiences but also our knowledge which allows both sides a chance to grow and experience a process of mutual transformation. Madres Monitoras, Community Health Workers or Promotoras Comunitarias are vital in their participation in this connection. They are the ones who build healthy communities, working with passion and love in the prevention of diseases and education, they are providing resources, health education, and skills that are a fundamental part for the improvement affecting our communities and our entire health system.
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