Training Community Health Leaders - 1 year duration

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From the beginning of the 1980’s, the strategy of Primary Healhcare (PHC) launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) lead to the training of health agents in local communities. Although some results were achieved in drawing interest and reducing morbidity, not much was done to support local populations mobilize their own resources, human or material, for the communities to take over a more direct and active role in regaining and maintaining their own health, as was the original goal of primary healthcare. Furthermore, the introduction of the western health system in many places has created a situation of higher dependency, as it slowly displaced the local Indigenous health systems.
The intercultural health training programme offered at Sacha Warmi goes back to the initial proposal of PHC, to respond to the necessity of promotion and prevention from the perspective of self-responsibility and self-care. It encourages the design and implementation of community health programmes with a proactive awareness of socio-cultural and environmental determinants of health and illness.

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The programme is based on the acknowledgment of the potential and efficiency of the traditional health systems. For this reason, the student’s training focuses on the following objectives:
1. Revitalization of traditional knowledge and practices linked to health and healthcare.
2. Improvement of food ways through education, with a focus on traditional foods resources and preparation techniques.
3. Preservation and sustainable use of natural resources to improve the family’s economic situation.
4. Recovery of cultural identity, especially among the young by encouraging them to organize and participate in cultural activities.
5. Cultivating relationships with local health institutions, through dialogue and the construction of bridges leading to the construction of intercultural health services.

The intercultural health facilitator is in many ways an educating agent whose mission is to help their social group or community in the development of a healthy way of life, in harmony with their environment and culture, from an intercultural perspective, and with a more critical awareness of the values and benefits brought by each culture.

This module is designed to help students recognize some of the important events in the past and recent history of Amazonia from the “time of the ancestors” through the important event of colonization and its far-reaching impact on cultural and ecological systems. This knowledge is intended to help them better understand how and why we got to the present situation.

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Health and Medicine
• Current health situation among Indigenous people in Amazonia;
• Vision of health and healthcare from the socio-cultural perspective;
• Current situation of traditional health systems and possibilities for their revitalization;
• How traditional and western medicine can complement each other;
• Medical resources. Medicinal plants useful for healthcare;
• Psycho-social health, conflicts, violence, alcoholism, suicide;
• Agriculture, Current problems. Soil regeneration. Agro-ecological practices;
• Dangers of the use of agro-chemicals;
• Extraction and collection of wild species;
• Recovery of traditional foods. Preparation of foods. Possible ways of improving the quality of the food;

Cultural Identity
• Socio-cultural changes and their impact on self and group identity;
• Significance of cultural identity and possibilities for its recovery;
• Relationship between health and cultural identity;

• Current situation of ecosystems;
• Strategies for the conservation and regeneration of ecosystems;
• Relations between health and ecosystems;
• Water pollution. Natural water cleaning systems with aquatic plants and other means.
• Environmental sanitation. Recycling garbage.

• Why is it important, for what purpose and how to do research with the community?
• Research themes for the community to carry out;
• Designing a community health programme;
• Evaluating and monitoring the improvement of health conditions;

• Possible forms of community organization around health;
• Audio-visuals as a tool for cultural reaffirmation and interculturality;
• Elaboration of promotional materials (leaflets, manuals, posters, games, etc.

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