Train Health Workers on Mapping Community Epidemiological Information


Open to all RPCVs

Activity/project background

The Ministry of Health conducts epidemiological surveillance in its scope of action. This is translated at the community level through activities such as community-level case tracking (COVID-19 patients, cases of malnutrition in children, location of high-risk pregnant women, etc.) as well as the location of key actors in the communities (midwives, firefighters, health commissions, etc.). This requires the preparation of maps (locally known as “sketches”) at the community and other levels. Based on a recent needs assessment survey, 70% of the health workers stated that they make their maps by hand, approximately 10% use Visio, and the rest use other software such as AutoCAD, Adobe illustrator, Google Earth, or Excel, for which they did not receive training. Also, 73% of participants indicated that the quality of the maps they are currently making could be improved. Seventy-nine percent (79%) said they were willing to be trained virtually in the preparation of maps using specialized tools to improve the quality of their maps and management of epidemiological information. The survey also indicated that 73% of potential participants stated that they had a medium level of computer skills.

The representative of the Ministry of Health stated that training their staff in GIS had been of long standing interest that they had not been able to meet, and see virtual service as a great opportunity to address this need. The use of GIS tools to manage community epidemiological information in digital form will contribute to the agile, collaborative and accurate management and sharing of health information, among other benefits.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPPs will support health workers in their efforts to develop capacities to create digital maps (sketches) in order to record epidemiological data according to the needs of communities where they work.

Engagement and Tasks:
• Diagnose current participants’ experience through a photographic showcase of their actual work, consult about implemented processes, the most relevant data utilized, and the specific skills they currently have (baseline)
• Identify the most appropriate software for participants’ needs and conditions (medium level of computer use, computers with low processing capacity, low level of connectivity) whose access is free (for example, Google Earth Pro, QGIS)
• Co-train participants starting with the simplest tool (for example, Google Earth Pro) to define participants’ learning level, and scaling to more complex tools as appropriate for each participant
• Provide one-on-one assistance to participants in the creation and delivery of a map in which at least 10 epidemiological data points can be represented (for example, COVID-19 cases, cases of malnutrition, location of midwives, pregnant women at high risk, etc.)
• When possible, record training sessions to be replicated with other groups of participants and provide links with description to resources, so that participants can share them with other interested colleagues whose work requires the creation of maps and record epidemiological data
• Showcase epidemiological maps created by participants throughout the training event
• Evaluate and celebrate the training process. Hand out diplomas to participants who fulfilled the delivery of products/outputs according to the learning objectives

By the end of the training each of the 10 participants will be able to:
1. Effectively create and manage digital maps and epidemiological data through the use of free open source software specialized in maps and data management.
2. Replicate knowledge and skills acquired during training with colleagues and members of their organization.

This engagement is expected to be approximately 16 weeks. VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week.

All meetings will happening during Guatemalan work office hours 9:00am to 5:00pm (GMT-6). The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, WhatsApp and/or Skype in order for regular communication and collaboration.

Per the Child Protection Code of Conduct, when engaging online with minors (0-18), two adults must be present.

Optional additional activities

The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Goal 1 will be achieved through the VSPP's engagement and completion of the above tasks. The counterpart and VSPP may also choose to identify an activity that aligns with Goal 2. Additionally, the VSPP may identify a Goal 3 activity to implement during their engagement. See recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities.

Essential qualifications

Education: Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts in any field

Technical Skills: At least 2 years of experience developing maps through the use of free digital tools for mapping (Google Earth Pro, QGIS, or other open sources)

Language: Advanced proficiency in written and spoken Spanish

• Experience conducting learning needs assessments
• Experience teaching/training adults using adult learning methodology

Intercultural skills and motivation: Flexible, strong cross-cultural agility, high tolerance for ambiguity, able to work independently, resourceful, creative, and genuinely motivated and capable to serve virtually

Desired qualifications

Education: Master’s degree in public health

Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

• Experience in community work in rural contexts in Latin America, preferably in Guatemala
• Experience with public health data management
• Experience applying the experiential learning cycle

Partner background

Name: Health Department of Quetzaltenango (DASQ)

Type of entity: Government

Mission and goals:

Vision: A healthy lifestyle for individuals, families and communities with active participation to have healthy spaces that favor the development of the population, in an ecologically protected environment, with access to quality, timely, efficient, equitable and integral health services.

Mission: Exercise the leadership of the Health Sector with social participation, to provide integral care services to the population, with equity and quality through the operation of integrated health networks at its three levels, with the efficient and transparent use of resources, to guarantee the right to health.

Terms and conditions of engagement

VSPPs will be engaging with the host country partner, in coordination with Peace Corps post staff, remotely from the US. They should have access to a computer, internet, and telephone in order to enable direct engagement with the Peace Corps overseas office and the Host Country Counterpart assigned by the host country partner.

Orientation with the host country partner will be provided, within the designated virtual service hours, during the first week of virtual service via an online presentation and discussion. The host country partner will provide an overview of its organization, the local context, and how they envision collaborating with the VSPP.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart and bi-weekly check-ins with Peace Corps staff. Spending unstructured time with counterparts can be critical to relationship-building and is encouraged through activities such as coffee chats and informal calls within the weekly 5-15 hours.

Engagement-specific safety and security

The VSPP will receive an orientation on Peace Corps’ Child Protection Policy and how it relates to online engagement along with IT security best practices. The VSPP will be expected to follow safety and security guidelines for online engagement to ensure their safety and that of the Host Country Partner and their counterpart, and any beneficiaries of the engagement.

Supervision requirements

The VSPP will report to a designated Peace Corps staff member. The VSPP will be expected to abide by the Virtual Service Pilot Participant and Donation Agreement and Participant Principles of Engagement. The VSPP will also be expected to check in with the designated host country counterpart as assigned by the host county partner.

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