(Wednesday): Observed an adolescent class on self esteem in Calhuitz, tamale making, language class, cultural night (local kids dancing).
(Thursday): Another early morning, I awoke at 5:30 am to drive for two hours to the project site in Tuzlaj Goya. (Photos: switchback mountains we crossed, me and classmates in the back of the truck.)
At the clinic, I was told they ran out of ibuprofen. The next supply would be next month. When I have a headache, I go into my backpack and take two ibuprofen. This community would have to wait a month for a resupply.
Today, I followed two educators into the community to observe their home visits. Home visits are really interesting. At Casa Maternas, they follow a cascade model of care. They first begin by taking a census of the community or a community health assessment, identifying the risks and needs of each house. They map out the community and then begin their interventions. At each Casa Maternas, the focus is on reaching women and children under the age of five – in the hopes of lowering the mortality rate. The lead educator is from Casa Maternas. She educates 7 facilitators who each go back to their districts/neighborhood and educate their community. Eventually, one by one, each woman in the community is educated each month on a specific topic. This month’s topic was danger signs of pregnancy. This model of care is something I had never seen before but is so effective in its outcome. It only takes one person to create change.
On the home visit, the baby was weighed, measured, and their records updated. The facilitator educated on the importance of vaccines, birth control – depo is free by the government, family planning, hygiene and the monthly topic. The mom asked engaging questions about… (social services – a nearby town gives away food, why doesn’t Casa Maternas? She asked are vaccines truly helpful? Free education classes at the clinic – she would want incentive like food.) At the end of their conversation, the mom was asked to thumb print her name with ink instead of signing to acknowledge the conversation. I thought that was a powerful record. Even though she is likely illiterate, she was still able to participate in the health of her children in a meaningful way. These facilitators went to her. They went to her house to talk about the health of her children. I walked away feeling like this baby was healthy and the children were happy. (Photos: baby being weighed by a portable scale, art on the wall at the families’ home, children, a donkey walking down the road carrying sticks, and chickens in the yard.)
The next family was more resistant to our visit and her baby was severely malnourished. I would have guessed this baby was a few months old, but instead it was one year old. The mother said she feeds the baby with formula maybe once a day. This baby will not live to five years.