During the month of February 2018, I had the exciting opportunity to help assist in training community health workers in Carrefour, Haiti. This experience has helped shaped the way I approach being an effective public health educator when working with different cultures in different atmospheres. The most important thing that I learned from this trip and the work I did was how to address negative health cultural practices and empower the individuals to engage in positive life changing healthcare practices.
Throughout history, different cultures have come up with ideas and beliefs about how healthcare could be practiced. With this being said, as a public health educator it is important that we understand how to properly communicate with individuals of other cultures about public health so the teachings of positive health practices spread throughout time. For example, empowerment was given to individuals in Haiti by giving them the ability to help their own communities, free of cost through knowledge and proper education. Additionally, International Help provided every community health worker with supplies to help their community prevent many diseases and illnesses such as high blood pressure and malnutrition.
Continuing education is another important aspect of ensuring public health practices are broadening throughout a country or specific area in need. Throughout the trainings in Haiti, it slowly became clear that some health topics were understood and some needed to be studied in depth due to a greater need of knowledge of that health concern. One topic was women’s health. This topic was something that brought up many questions and concerns from both men and women in the room. This made it clear that more education would need to be implemented. Therefore, in the future I plan to provide more education materials for Haitian women to learn about their bodies at different stages and experiences of their lives.
Lastly, the most impacting part of this trip to Haiti for me personally was seeing the strong need and desire for health education and resources. I had the privilege of listening to encouraging words of the graduates from the training program and one explained “we should have learned this information a long time ago, but now that we have it we must spread it for free.” As a public health educator, when you hear these words, you know you have impacted a community greatly. You truly see the power and impact of knowledge and we must not take it for granted and we must spread it to people who are need.
– Jenna Mrozinski, MPH Intern
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