In June 2017, 16 Community Health Workers (CHWs) were trained in the city of Texistepeque, El Salvador through Oasis de Gracia Iglesia. In 2019, the community partner and IHELP decided to expand the project to reach the rural caserios (villages) surrounding Texistepeque. However, COVID-19 put that plan on hold. It wasn’t until this past spring that IHELP was able to fully start the project again.
As I started my internship in May, this new project became my top priority, as it is one of the largest projects IHELP has taken on. After meeting with a community leader, we learned that 48 potential caserios are looking to participate in the CHW training. To ensure these future CHWs are trained effectively, I have spent the last two months researching Texistepeque, analyzing community assessments, developing project plans, working through program evaluations, and compiling the training curriculum.
Since COVID-19 is still a very present global issue, the CHW training will likely not occur until January 2022. However, these next 5 months will allow us to build our project capacity to meet the needs of this vast project. By putting in the time now, we can ensure all CHWs are effectively trained to end preventable diseases throughout the rural caserios of Texistepeque. I look forward to spending the remaining time of my internship on this project and doing my part to further the mission of IHELP.
– Madeleine Burkholder, MPH Intern, Saint Louis University