Community Physical Health Education

H.A.W.A. recently completed a three month (July-September 2016) program of physical health education. This program joined an American health advocate with a Tanzanian teaching partner as Community Health Facilitators (CHF) to lead the physical health education classes. The goal of this program was to empower the community to understand how they can help themselves and others when breathing problems occur, to help the community discover what physical health problems are important to them, and to encourage the community to take the necessary preventative health actions.

The American CHF trained for twenty years in mental/spiritual health and ten years in physical health prior to coming to Tanzania, with emphasis on cross cultural education. He has participated in field orientations to practice teaching with the aid of a translator, learned about Tanzanian customs and culture, and discovered the beauty of the Meru District. The education program was implemented in the Arumeru District, specifically in Akeri, Usa River, Laganga, Patandi and Tengeru. The CFC’s worked alongside teaching partners to develop a specialized curriculum that compensated for the lack of specialized health care information the community was not receiving from other health NGO’s.

The H.A.W.A. Health Education Curriculum consists of a wide range of health related topics including; Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Nutrition, Food Poisoning Prevention Spiritual Health and Mental Health. Our curriculum is dynamic and includes the active participation of the students and members of the community to reinforce what  they have learned. During the training program this year, the CHF’s introduced Mini Anne (see photo insert), a specifically designed practice tool to give the user the experience in how to properly apply CPR in an emergency when a victim has no pulse and is not breathing. In total, our CHF’s taught fifty members of the community.

 H.A.W.A.’s  Community Health Facilitators also plan to prepare a physical and mental health curriculum for students in the community with special needs. The CHF’s were honored to reach out and teach a diverse group of community members and the experience provided a valuable education to both community members and the CHF’s. Despite the many challenges the people face, the CHF’s were able to focus on what was important to the people to know and tailored the curriculum specifically to their needs.

In the future, H.A.W.A. will continue to provide Mental, Spiritual and Physical Health education to the students and community members of the area. The CHF’s of H.A.W.A. also met with the Meru Youth Network Group to lead discussions about Physical and Mental Health to adult community members. Each week prior to the microfinance meeting of the Meru Youth Network Group, H.A.W.A. volunteers facilitated a conversation about mental, spirit and physical health including nutrition with the group, who were receptive, involved and attentive during the conversations. The topics covered included; CPR, Nutrition, Food Poisoning Prevention, and checking blood pressure. During the conversation, the Meru youth group members expressed great interest in the topics, asking intellectual questions regarding CPR, especially with concerns of how we can care for individuals who are suffering with breathing problems.

Other concerns extended to how to protect children from food poisoning due to the type of food they eat and how this food is prepared for them. The H.A.W.A. volunteers sat with the group members and discussed their concerns about how to provide a safe space for appropriate discussions regarding these concerns.