Working with Health Counterparts

By Ellen Mitchell
Sept. 16, 2020

Working with Nurse Sima, Nurse/Community Health Worker (CHW) Greene and CHW Carolyn in my village has been a wonderful experience.

These women have a passion and dedication to the health and wellness of their community members that goes unmatched. CHWs in Belize work for hardly any pay, but volunteer their time because of the love and care they have for their village. From the day I arrived in my village, these CHWs welcomed me onto their team and helped me integrate into the community. I have learned so much about Belizean health needs and concerns working alongside these women, as well as have had the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with them.

The village that I live in has a mobile clinic that comes one day each month. I assist the nurses with measuring and weighing the babies and children, as well as charting their growth. Additionally, the CHW and I plan and facilitate educational presentations for parents on various topics ranging from non-communicable diseases to young child nutrition. We check blood pressures and blood glucose levels, educate on living healthier lifestyles, and refer people to see a doctor when necessary. The CHWs and I also visit the primary schools in the village for different needs. I assist in checking the students for lice, as well as educate all classes on good hygiene practices.

My favorite activity has been conducting home visits with my CHW. Together we visit homes throughout the village, assess basic levels of health, and have the opportunity to get to know the villagers more personally. I am able to help educate community members on how they can reduce their risks for chronic illness and live healthier lifestyles, as well as get to know their families and feel more a part of the village. While the language barriers can be a major challenge at times, my CHWs are always there to support and help me better learn the local languages.

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PCV Ellen and 2 of her counterparts, Nurse Sima and Nurse/CHW Greene.