Community Health Promoters
There have been times when we have seen the need to assist the MSSP / Ministry of Health to disseminate important health-related information. We recruited, screened, hired and trained our Community Health Promoters (CHP) for specific tasks within the communities involved, with each specific CHP given a specific quadrant of families, giving us a complete community coverage. One of our early programs was to equip and train our CHP team to work in and around the Limonade area training each family how to combat the spread of cholera through proper hygiene, washing and water-gathering techniques. Additional programs enabled us to set up set up 16 Oral Rehydration Ports (ORP) and traveled around each community on home visits to again pass out Aquatabs, and filtering equipment, as well as making a concerted effort to sensitize the population about the importance of maintaining safe drinking water for the community. On another occasion they held local area meetings to share important information concerning the dangers of HIV/AIDS infections, how they are passed on, prevention techniques, as well as information on STD’s and how women can negotiate with their partners to “just say no” and still maintain healthy relationships.
There is still a great deal of work that our CHP can do to help with similar health-related issues that impact the families and communities in northern Haiti. SAO is working on a quarterly continuing education program for their CHP staff to better train them in basic first aid, medical health information sharing, blood pressure / heart rate / body temperature readings, as well as a variety of other health-related issues that would enable them to be more useful to the local Ministry of Health in their screening and assessment programs. As with other Sonje Ayiti projects/programs we are currently seeking medical and financial partners to help to recruit, train and pay the salaries of these essential community servants.
College of William & Mary “Haiti Compact”
For several years now 6-8 faculty and students from the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, VA, have traveled down to Limonade to spend a week offering their medical services and sharing health-related information with the residents of various communities in northern Haiti. It has been a “student-led” program from the start, allowing the student nurses a chance to visit an entirely different culture, and to put their years of training and knowledge to the task of helping the local health care providers in many special ways. The experience has always proven to be a blessing to the visitors as well as the community recipients…and many friendships have been made through the program. Indeed, it has become a special opportunity for the W&M students and faculty alike to look forward to every year!
Sonje Ayiti is hoping to expand this type of health care sharing and cooperative caring by encouraging similar “hands on mission” experiences for other college and nursing school medical training programs. Please contact us if you are interested to see if your training team might fit into our program!