Health Surveillance and Disease Prevention and Control / Chronic Diseases / CARMEN

Visit to PAHO-NHLBI Project in Mixco, Guatemala


PAHO Links
- Cardiovascular Diseases
- Noncommunicable Disease Unit
- Chronic Disease Newsletter

WHO Links
- Chronic Diseases

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI),
National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA

In the municipality of Mixco, Guatemala, a meeting was organized between an extended project team and Dr. Branka Legetic, PAHO Regional Advisor on Noncommunicable Diseases. This was the first visit to be made to the PAHO project with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes Health (NIH) of the United States, as part of the Pan American Cardiovascular Initiative (PACI): Promoting Heart Health in the Americas: Preparing for Success, involving cardiovascular health promotion using lay health personnel (in Spanish, 'promotoras,' a type of female community health worker). The course was led by APRECOR, a Guatemalan NGO, and supported by the Ministry of Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS) of Guatemala, the Municipality of Mixco, and the Mixco Health Center, following its selection and the training provided last May at PAHO Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Visit to Mixco

A group of 25 'health promoters' (promotoras) has been working for some time in the community as to complement the local health services, predominantly helping families in the area of maternal and child health issues. This group will be receiving continuing education on topics related to such risk factors for cardiovascular health as tobacco, nutrition, alcohol consumption, and physical activity. This ongoing project includes the adaptation of the manual Your Heart, Your Life, training for the promotoras, and evaluation of the training as well as of their work in the community using the knowledge acquired. The project will last for two years.

The visit provided an opportunity for learning about the commitment of the project team, establishing connections, and getting to know what the promotoras expect and how they perceive the organization of their work in light of the project.

Overall, impressions were very favorable, given that the project has stable and committed core and expended teams and has been advancing in the implementation as planned.