Our community-wide health education and development programs began in 2013, building on the success of our water filter, nursing, and community health worker (qhali) programs. Health education courses are offered to school-age children and adults throughout the year. Teaching is based on participatory learning methods that do not require specific levels of literacy. Course themes are informed by the specific dynamics of each community and are delivered by the DESEA Peru team. In equipping community members with health knowledge, we empower them to make informed decisions about family health on a daily basis. Since the introduction of the program, we’ve seen a substantial reduction in the incidence of illness and mortality.
Our Community Health Training Programs
Every month, adults and children in the project communities are invited to participate in community health education courses covering a wide range of topics, including basic first aid, reproductive health, nutrition, early childhood stimulation, emergency planning, domestic violence reduction, traditional medicine, management of sick children, environmental health, maintaining community water systems, patient rights and responsibilities, and local government organization. During these courses, we distribute illustrated materials related to the most pressing health issues in the Andes.
In addition to our community health education programs, DESEA staff – in collaboration with qhalis, the Ministry of Health, and municipal government staff – host regular health fairs in served communities. These fairs provide adults with an opportunity to visit diverse, interactive booths to learn about important health issues. Topics are far-ranging and include issues such as general nutrition, the harmful effects of alcoholism, and baseline health monitoring.
To Empower Through Health Education
Emergency Disaster Planning
Local community governments select men and women to participate in advanced first aid training. Our trained nurses and qhalis work alongside FRITA (Vancouver, Canada-based Fire and Rescue International Training Association) first aid instructors to teach important, life-saving skills and to practice a wide range of advanced first aid scenarios.
DESEA works together with local communities and municipal governments to enhance emergency and disaster planning. Residents trained in advanced first aid play a central role in this process. Communication, support, and evacuation strategies are developed for each community.
To ensure that qhalis possess the skills required to help their communities in times of emergency, DESEA and FRITA staff provide them with advanced first aid training on a yearly basis.
The school health program is managed by DESEA community nurses, and involves students, teachers, qhalis, the Ministry of Health, and municipal government staff. The program is delivered in conjunction with semiannual school health fairs that provide children with important health knowledge presented in a fun, interactive format. Topics include safe hygiene and sanitation practices, the importance of clean drinking water, children’s rights, general nutrition, dental health, environmental protection, and leadership. We also conduct routine health monitoring, including height and weight measurements, vision assessments, hemoglobin testing, and parasite treatment.
The school health program is divided into three components: basic first aid, Days for Girls, and reproductive health.
Basic First Aid
Children receive yearly, age-appropriate, basic first aid training, taught by DESEA nurses and qhalis. Highly realistic, practice scenarios are conducted to increase comprehension and confidence in the use of these life-saving skills.
Days for Girls
Adolescent girls participate in the Days for Girls program, which provides menstrual health education and reusable menstrual kits with the aim of ensuring girls need not miss school during menstruation.
Adolescents in secondary school receive yearly sexual health education in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Topics covered include sexual and reproductive health, sexuality, and overall wellbeing.