12 June 2014

Volunteers and Low Resource Communities Benefit from Health Issues Collaboration

Class of Panama Health Promoters
Senegalese Health Staff with UMVIM Group
As the global popularity of Community Based Primary Health grows within poor communities, innovative ways to defeat diseases of poverty are growing.  Faith-based health volunteers are beginning to alter previous approaches of temporary, direct care to more collaborative models that offer mentorship to locals and mutual learning for both local residents and visiting volunteers.

When Health Volunteers prepare for short-term mission, there are many new and unique ways that they can use to offer a long-term impact on the local areas that they visit.  Teams may consider both "low" and "high" tech methods to leave behind.

An example of low-tech materials and teaching strategies could include growth monitoring of children.  Items to leave behind might be several portable fish scales or luggage scales that consist of a dial, tape measure and a hook to which a baby sling may be attached.  These items range in cost from $10-$15 each.  A less expensive option would be to supply tape measures to learn the arm circumference of children 1 year of age and older which may indicate malnutrition if less than 13.5 cms.

Since the use of cell phones in poor communities of the world is mushrooming, there are several innovative ways that cell phones and simple "apps" are now being used for health coaching and conveying emergency messages.  In that regard, the posting just below this one gives information about an upcoming conference in Nashville addressing the many uses of technology to support global health.  Also at the top of this blog, there is a selectable tab that lists a number of health related applications that volunteers may consider as a way to enhance their health mission experiences.  I invite you to consider these options as you prepare to be in mission.

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