Community Health Worker Training with MGY Organization - July 2022
MGY Aware, an organization working to build health capacity in remote rural areas, was back in the Peruvian Amazon in July 2022, after a pandemic-forced absence. The demand for ongoing and additional training was overwhelming, with 33 community health workers, known locally as "promotores de salud" participating in the multi-day workshop at our Madre Selva Biological Station, and we had to turn away some additional would-be participants for lack of space and resources.
MGY was founded in 2011 by students from the AT Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, following a visit to the Peruvian Amazon where group leader Daniel Ebbs and others assisted with construction of the Orosa Clinic, just upriver from Madre Selva. They recognized that lack of access to training and support was the greatest roadblock in developing local health capacity in isolated communities, so they set out to change that. Those founding students are now medical professionals in various disciplines, and are scattered across the USA. The founding members have been joined by others with a similar passion for capacity building, and MGY has branched out beyond the Peruvian Amazon but Project Amazonas is delighted to continue to grow our partnership with them. To learn more more about MGY (and the origin of their name), do visit MGY's website. Enjoy the photos below!
The end of a successful workshop
Community health worker participants and the MGY team pose for a group photo at the end of several intense and productive days. All photos courtesy of MGY.
Everyone arrives at Madre Selva
Our Esperanza riverboat, carrying the MGY team, boat crew, food, fuels and medical supplies at port at Madre Selva. Community Health Workers mostly arrived in canoes from 17 communities on 4 different rivers.
Meet and greet
MGY lead, Daniel Ebbs, greets Rufino Falcon from the community of Santo Tomas
More meet and greet
MGY members and CHW's introduce themselves to each other outside the dining hall/kitchen at Madre Selva.
And away we go!
With introductions over and everyone settled as far as accommodations, the training sessions start.
Training sessions continued
For introducing various topics, large group sessions were a starting point. Here Daniel Muller (foreground) and Jairo Tapayuri, technician at the Orosa Clinic (back), present to a table of CHW's.
Large group session
Carolina Espindola Camacho, presents a topic to the group. Her fluency in Spanish was a terrific asset.
Small group discussion
Breaking into smaller groups to brainstorm and discuss ideas was an important part of the training.
All hands on board
CHW's listen intently as one of their group members speaks.
The real fun begins!
No, it's not naptime! Using each other as model patients, CHW's practice the essential skills of examining a patient.
Model patient exams
There is no better way to learn how to do a patient exam than to work on a colleague, and then have them practice on you.
Examination skills included taking blood pressure & temperature, heartrate, listening to lung function, and also palpitating to detect masses or other abnormalities that a patient might present.
One on one breakout sessions
One on one sessions enabled the MGY team to assess levels of understanding and comprehension of the CHWs, and determine what subjects might need further discussion.
Questions on the part of the CHW's are always welcomed and encouraged.
One on one - continued
While most of the MGY team spoke good to fluent Spanish, regional variations in Spanish vocabulary and pronunciation make it essential to review material regularly to ensure that information is being transmitted in an understandable manner.
Another small group breakout
A private small group breakout session in our classroom structure allows participants to discuss topics that some might consider to be sensitive.
Assessing the pulse of the workshop
A participant takes the pulse of one of the MGY team members.
A diverse group of CHWs
It was delightful to see a wide spectrum of community health worker participants, including a lot of women and many younger participants.
It wasn't all work, of course. Our cooks did a lot of fantastic work back in the kitchen to feed over 40 people three varied and nutritious meals a day.
The guys behind the scenes
Esperanza crew members Juan Luis Panduro (L) and Segundo Rios (R) did a lot of behind-the-scenes work to make everything work smoothly. Our thanks to them for a superb effort.
The end of a successful trip
There is nothing better to wrap up a fantastic training session than a full arch rainbow over the Amazon River. Thanks to the full MGY team for making this happen.
A. big shout-out to the MGY team of Daniel Ebbs, Starr Matsushita, Justin Yoshida, Carolina Espindola Camacho, Maggie O'Daniel, Kendal Schaetzle, Ashley Oalical and Daniel Muller, as well as medical student Rosie Holmes from the University of Dundee for all their hard work and fund-raising.
You can help us make the July 2023 training session even better than the 2022 session. Your financial support enables us to train more participants and have additional training materials and supplies. Donate directly to MGY or you can donate via Project Amazonas' GlobalGiving campaign to support the 2023 workshop. By donating on the GlobalGiving portal US and UK donors automatically receive tax receipts valid for charitable contributions in their home countries. Thank you for your support!