208832 Community health workers as NGO's community intervention strategy in the border city of Tijuana, Mexico

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Beatriz Alfaro-Trujillo, BA , Master in Public Health Program, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Tijuana, Mexico
Ana M. Valles-Medina, MPH , Master in Public Health Program, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Tijuana, Mexico
Adriana C. Vargas-Ojeda, PhD , School of Medicine and Psycology, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Tijuana, Mexico
Nohemi Gonzalez-Vega , School of Medicine and Psycology, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Tijuana, Mexico
Rosa M. Gonzalez-Corona, PhD , Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Mexico
Carmen Castillo-Fregoso, MSc , School of Medicine and Psycology, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Tijuana, Mexico
Maria Teresa Cerqueira, PhD , U.S.-Mexico Border Office, PAHO/WHO, El Paso, TX

In Mexico, interventions by Community Health Promoters (CHP) functioning in NGOs have not been carefully analyzed. A significant vacuum exists in this field, specifically its social incidence and as a link between institutions and communities.


A qualitative study was performed in which semistructured interviews were held with health-oriented NGO directors to identify operational structure, volunteers, advocacy, community networking, health services offered, coverage and how they correlate their mission with their intervention areas. Focal group sessions were held with the CHP to identify their motivations.


We found 332 NGOs registered in the city directory, some dedicated to environmental issues, others to social assistance or substance abuse. An estimated 30% of these NGOs are involved in healthcare promotion, but only 10% of these, employ CHP in their community intervention strategies. Our study reflects diverse methodologies used by NGOs in the field of health promotion and the transcendental experience for CHP in their human development. The study also, shows several testimonies given by CHP about how their lives changed through their training and interaction with the community and how the community and NGOs benefit from their work.


The most important contribution of this study consists of providing analytical elements about CHP as agents of social change, their interaction between healthcare organizations and community, and their relevance in the formation of social capital through informal networks that positively influence self-esteem, family relations and community environments.

Learning Objectives:
1.To illustrate the type of structure and health interventions performed by health non-governmental organizations that utilize community health workers in a border city of Mexico 2.To analyze characteristics and motivation of women that work as community health workers and the human development and empowerment they achieve.

Keywords: Community Health Promoters, Community Preventive Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am experienced working with health promoters and I had worked in this project as my MPH thesis
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.