Creating and Implementing a Community-Based Education Program in Rural Guatemala

Purpose : The Guatemalan health care system is comprised of public, private non-profit, and the private for-profit sectors. Only 11% of the population utilizes the healthcare system due to lack of access, limited financial resources, and very low health literacy. With the increase prevalence of chronic diseases in developing countries there has been a shift in development strategies for global health interventions. Physical therapists routinely provide education on the prevention and functional management of chronic disease. Education is a basic resource to empower individuals to improve their health status. The purpose of this pilot study was to implement a community-based health education program using train-the-trainer methodology in the rural community of Joya de las Flores, GuatemalaDescription : Three topics for the educational modules were determined by recommendation from the host health promoter in Joya de las Flores. The topics were diabetes, heart health, and developmental milestones. The modules were created based on information obtained from sources including, but not limited to, journals, databases, handbooks, and textbooks. Emphasis in design included culturally-appropriate information and attention to the availability of local resources. In addition to basic anatomical and physiological material, modules were aimed to provide information on both primary and secondary prevention measures. The modules were first created in English at a fifth grade reading level and then translated into Spanish by Google translate. These translations were cross-referenced by a fluent Spanish speaker familiar with the local culture. The basic components of the modules included a powerpoint presentation, a trainer's manual, and module-specific supplies (e.g., foot-care kits for the diabetic module, blood pressure cuff and sample exercise programs for the heart health module, and play kits for the module on developmental milestones).Summary of Use : Three health promoters (trainers) from two rural communities in Guatemala were trained on all three educational modules over the course of eight days. Following practice presentations to the visiting physical therapy students and faculty, each trainer presented at least one module to small groups within the community. Initial feedback from the trainers and community participants was positive. Longitudinal follow-up will address the outcome of the train-the-trainer methodology on increasing health literacy in a rural community in Guatemala and if an increase in health literacy results in behavioral changes in regards to health promotion.Importance to Members: The knowledge and skill set within the scope of physical therapy practice positions us to be leaders in health and wellness. This is of particular interest to efforts in global health initiatives aimed at reducing health disparity. This project is an example of how our expertise can be applied to global health challenges within temporal constraints.

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  • Control #: 1726771
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Maureen Helgren, Ashley Armington, Ashley Bella, Kaitlyn Clarke, Emelie Gold, Erin Sabato
  • Keywords: global health|train-the-trainer

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