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Acupuncture training: Guatemalan community health workers experience

Jorge Ibarra, MD, MPH1, Laurie Melrood, MSSW2, Blake Gentry, MPPM3, Miguel Solval-Gordillo, CHW, Acupunctur4, Mary Ellen O'Brien, NMD Dipl Ac RN5, and Ronald Rosen, OMD, Dips Ac, Ch5. (1) Consultant, Mesa Public Health Associates, 2250 East 8th Street, Tucson, AZ 85719, (2) President, Guatemala Acupuncture and Medical Aid Project, PO Box 85371, Tucson, AZ 85754, (3) Past President, Guatemala Acupuncture and Medical Aid Project, PO Box 85371, Tucson, AZ 85754, 520-623-6620, guamap@theriver.com, (4) Comm Health Worker, Acupuncturist, Cooperativa Union Maya-Itza, Domicilio Conocido, La Quetzal, Peten, Guatemala, (5) Board of Directors, Guatemala Acupuncture and Medical Aid Project, PO Box 8073, Scottsdale, AZ 85252

Background: Most indigenous communities in rural Guatemala lack adequate access to health care. Rural settlements, with less than 500 inhabitants, rely in scarce community- based clinics and, internationally-supported, non-governmental organizations to address medical needs. Acupuncture is well accepted due to the history of Mayan puncture medicine. Since 1994, the Guatemala Acupuncture and Medical Aid Project (GUAMAP) has implemented a curricula they developed for rural Community Health Workers (CHW) and Midwives enabling these workers to provide acupuncture treatments to remote communities. GUAMAP is a non-profit organization based in Tucson, Arizona that works closely with a Guatemalan non-profit to implement this project. In particular, participating CHWs are selected by Asociación de Servicios Comunitarios de Salud (ASECSA), a health training, non-governmental organization, liaison between CHW and GUAMAP. GUAMAP’s acupuncture curricula is a 5-level training program that takes approximately two year for CHWs to complete. American acupuncturists and GUAMAP representatives provide training manuals and supplies for the project. As of 2002, GUAMAP has trained 12 midwives and 105 CHWs in acupuncture practices. Approximately 300 acupuncture and health encounters are documented each month. Health problems most frequently addressed are diarrheas, acute respiratory infections, malaria, asthma, migraines and body pains. Efforts to evaluate the impact of acupuncture in the Peten are under way; preliminary findings will be shared as a part of this presentation.

Learning Objectives: At the end of the session, participants will be able to

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Community Participation

Related Web page: www.guamap.org/

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: Past President of GUAMAP

Voices, Views, and Visions of Current and Future Health Professionals on Alternative and Complementary Health Practices

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA