Honduras Health Project

Photo by Shannon Turvey

The GHI Honduras project came to a close in 2011. No more recruitment will be taking place for this project. Currently, previous student participants are conducting an evaluation on the impact of the project to shed light on the potential benefits and risks of international service learning projects.


Continuing a trend since 2006, the GHI Honduras project sent two teams down to the rural communities of Santiago and San Isidro during the month of July 2010.  These communities, near the border of El Salvador in the Honduran department of La Paz, are remote villages that rely primarily on sustenance farming, have little to no infrastructure and have extremely limited access to healthcare.  With the average adult education level equivalent to a Canadian grade 3, there is little opportunity to advance or improve their situation without help.

In the past, teams from the GHI Honduras Project have gone down to do health education projects, infrastructure work, nutritional assessments and community health surveys. This past year, the teams implemented several projects focusing specifically on public health education. Talks were given in a variety of settings, including community halls, libraries, schools and at a public health fair set up in the nearby community of Santa Ana.  Additionally, the team prepared a pilot project aimed at training community healthcare workers, known locally as Consejaras, and midwives, known as Parteras.  The training focused on the recognition of danger signs in pregnancy, delivery and neonatal care, as well as family planning, STI prevention and contraception, all major public health issues in the area.  The aim of this workshop was to convey information to local representatives to help make the project more sustainable in the communities and to provide people with access to local care which is often lacking in this region.

An exciting new focus of the project this year was the development of a dental education module, which was presented both to groups of women of child-bearing age in the community and to classes of children in two of the local schools. Additionally, the team partnered up with two local dentists from the nearby city of Marcala to provide a hands-on oral care seminar to groups of older children followed by fluoride treatments for approximately 100 children.  This was the first time dentists had ever been in either of the two communities.

Another large aspect to the project this year was gathering information in each respective community in the hopes of designing better project ideas in the future.  This included lengthy discussions with local community representatives and town councils in the Participatory Rural Assessment (PRA) format, as well as making visits to approximately 30 homes in the area to ask members of the community their views on the local healthcare system. The information obtained from these assessments will help to improve the project design for the teams in the coming year, and was also used by past and present project leaders to help determine the course of the project in the long term.


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