Last December, we had a chance to interview Silvina Laínez, Health Promoter in the community of El Calderón, Chinandega.
Silvina is one of the Health Promoters that has served for the longest time. In previous interviews, she has mentioned how young she was when she was elected as Health Promoter by community members, and how much has been achieved by the community and AMOS to advance community organization in El Calderón.
We had many questions for Silvina! And we were happy to hear about the things she learned in 2020, how the trainings with AMOS helped her to deal with the pandemic, how she has used the new medical equipment donated by AMOS supporters, and the response she has seen in the community regarding the use of protective equipment.
“2020 was a year of surprises. Our work and procedures had to change to reduce the likelihood of infecting others or getting infected,” Silvina said. “But despite the changes and new challenges, I was happy to continue serving my community, that is what I enjoy the most.”
– How useful was the information AMOS supervisors have shared with you in trainings?
Silvina: “The AMOS Supervisors have visited my community, taking prevention measures, to follow up on the work I was doing and to continue training me in new topics that would help me identify situations of risk, such as the symptoms of pneumonia and COVID-19. We have been especially trained on that. The AMOS team had a quick response to the pandemic and started to share accurate information on how to prevent the spread of the virus in our communities.”
“Also, supervisors are helping us to become more organized, to make sure we know when and how to use the medicine we have in stock. With their help, we are keeping track of our medicine stock.”
“During supervision rounds, we agreed to refer patients showing any COVID-19 related symptoms to the government health centers as soon as possible, to prevent the spread of the virus. Families have also been advised to bring patients to the community clinic or to give me a call whenever they start to feel sick. We follow the same approach with cases of pneumonia. After we see the patient and we identify the signs, we have the responsability to call an ambulance or send that patient to the closest health center.”
“Recently, I had the case of a young boy with symptoms of pneumonia. When the mom brought him to the clinic, he presented fatigue, had shallow breathing, he was coughing a lot, and had a mild fever. Once I identified the signs to indicate he had pneumonia, I referred him to the closest health center immediately.”
– What has been the reaction of community members to the use of protective equipment?
Silvina: “It was hard at first to make people in the community understand that I was using a face mask to protect them and myself. For them, it was weird to see me with a mask and a safety face shield. Our culture is about connecting and trusting each other. However, the use of this equipment created a sense of distance and disconnection for them. It required a lot of time and patience to talk them through the new changes in the community clinic.”
“Now, I can say that they have got used to these new rules. For example, a couple of months ago, a group of people that came from another community visited the clinic. I could see some community members from El Calderón standing several meters away from the clinic. When the group of visitors left, they approached me and explained they wanted to wait for the other group to leave because they were from outside the community and weren’t wearing masks. So, I think that, little by little, the health committee and I have been raising awareness among families in El Calderón and helping them understand the importance of these measures.”