Community Health Workers in Panama and the Navajo Nation

Most blogs have an easy interface to “reblog” from one blog to another.  This blog does not so I’ve provided three blog posts I’ve written below on both my personal blog and one for my MPH PM 508 class.  Posts 2 and 3 have pictures and commentary about home visits I made with CHWs in the Navajo Nation who focused on disease prevention and chronic illness management.  Post 1 shows pictures from a CHW visit in Panama’s Ministry of Health’s vector control team.  In my commentary in Post 1 I discuss the differences I noticed in my experiences with these two groups of CHWs and use photos to illustrate these differences.  In summary, I’ve found that the context in which CHWs are used can undermine the whole CHW model.  The CHW promatores working with an punitive authority-figure such as a vector control team, related very differently to the community than the Navajo CHWs under their independently funded program.  In summary, CHWs work great in preventative and chronic illness management situations, however they must be financially and systematically independent from entities that traditionally do not identify with patients and have a punitive or paternalistic relationship with them.  Without this financial and systematic foundation, CHWs themselves can be rendered ineffective.


About the MPH Panama Practicum

A group of University of Southern California graduate students are researching public health in Panama City, Panama, for a two-week international practicum, organized by the USC Master of Public Health (MPH) program. This post was excerpted from panama.usc.eduView all posts in this series »