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Role of universities in ensuring children their human right to health: A model for addressing and promoting child health equity in a rural Andean community in northern Peru

Blanca M. Ramos, PhD, CSW1, Pedro Mendoza Guerrero, Magister2, Julio Cesar Fernandez Alvarado, Lic2, Armando Mera Rodas, Lic2, Luis Piscoya Bravo, Lic2, Godofredo Puican Careno, Lic2, and Patricia Pisfil Arroyo, Lic2. (1) School of Social Welfare, University at Albany, State University of New York, 1400 Washington Avenue, Richardson 110, Albany, NY 12222, 518-442-5365, ramos@albany.edu, (2) Universidad Católica Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo, Panamericana Norte 855, Chiclayo, Peru

The right to health among children in rural indigenous communities is often profoundly curtailed by poverty and geographic isolation. In the Andes, some live in poverty stricken, remote areas where health outcomes are disturbing and healthcare is minimal. Universities can contribute toward child health equity drawing upon a basic commitment to social justice, knowledge, and expertise of faculty, administrators, and students. We present a comprehensive project to promote rural child health as part of an academic international partnership between universities in northern Peru and northeast U.S. An interdisciplinary team of faculty and students was convened to implement public health interventions and collect quantitative and qualitative data focusing on 850 school children in Colaya, Peru. Clinics setup to assess the children's height, weight, vision and nutrition status provided baseline data for monitoring and follow up. Supplemental math and basic science classes were offered to strengthen children's abilities for the health fields. Health workshops for families, teachers, and students were conducted. Toys, clothing, and school supplies were distributed. Data indicate a precarious socioeconomic profile with low education, high unemployment, and monthly income levels of $15. Children's health status is bleak marked by high presence of rickets, intestinal parasites, and malnutrition. Availability of healthcare and western medicine is rare. Parents, teachers, local government officials, health advocates, and community members were mobilized to take active steps to promote child health. Implications of the findings including those indicating heavy reliance on alternative medicines and cultural traditions for appropriate policy, intervention, and research will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Child Health Promotion, International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Child Health Issues and Innovations

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA