The Search for Community Health Workers

So I’ve finally discovered why administrators are always complaining about having to interview applicants for job positions, it’s exhausting.  Daisy, Hiral, Jon and myself have spent the last week identifying communities that might be appropriate for our pilot run of Community Health Workers (CHWs from now on to save on typing).  We decided that we wanted a community that wasn’t too near a health center, so we wouldn’t be trying to duplicate services, but also one that wasn’t so far away so if an emergency arose there would be someone patients could go.  We finally settled on a friendly community named Yamaguare.  That was, as I was soon to find out, the easy step.  Identifying the workers proved to be trickier.  In a small town like this we were worried that if we weren’t extremely careful we could ignite some hostility and jealousy within the population.  Through the course of a few town meetings we identified 8 potential candidates through volunteering and nominations, held individual and group interviews, spoke with the nurse for the surrounding areas, and eventually made our decision of 4 workers.  This is likely to be an overestimate, but we’ll see where it goes.

So it’s now a few weeks later and the training is complete (although I was not present for the last few days).  I have to say I am extremely excited about the possibilities of this program.  The women that we have trained were already consulting people in the community before the training even ended.  They are absolutely amazing.  They are so excited and interested in what we taught them, I really think we can transform this into long term sustainable care.  They key now is going to be follow up.  They’ve complained that other groups have never followed up and they’ve felt abandoned.  Not to mention they don’t have the self confidence yet to do this on their own.  The next few months and weeks are going to be crucial to make sure this program does everything we need it to do.

“Stay far from timid/ Only make moves when your heart’s in it/ And live the phrase Sky’s the Limit”

-Christopher Wallace


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