I have been a health promotor in Cool Earth’s Asháninka partnership since 2008, but I started my medical training when I was just 13. I’m now training Diosdith Guzman to be a maternal health promoter too. It is really important to have two people trained in the community because if I take a patient to Satipo, who is going to help look after everyone else?
I trained as a midwife and I especially enjoy learning about how to care for sick children. Bronchitis, diarrhoea and anaemia are the biggest health problems in Camantavishi, and children are especially affected. I was sad to see how many children and babies were getting sick and dying from drinking dirty water.
My idea was to give an education programme for the Asháninka women, which would hope to reduce sickness and diarrhoea caused by drinking dirty water. To convince the other families to boil water, first I did it myself and explained it to a few other families. Little by little, people started to boil water. It’s much easier to teach women about healthcare if you are a member of the community and know the culture.
Already, there are fewer cases of sickness. I’ve also got a remedy for those who do get sick: drinking coconut water from fresh coconuts. It contains natural sugars that replace those lost through diarrhoea, and it’s guaranteed to be clean. If you chew the flesh and drink the water of the little coconuts it works better than using a big coconut.
Sharing the idea
Nancy joins other women on a trip to the Awajún partnership later this month, to teach women there how they can be health promoters in their communities. We’ll make sure her crusade against infant diarrhoea is shared far and wide.