Rebeca conducting a home visit with Dolores
Home visits are an integral part of our Maternal Child Health (MCH) project because they let us follow up with the health and well-being of sponsored mothers and children. Project staff conduct home visits nearly every week of the year, for various reasons: to carry out regular evaluations, to reinforce the skills the mothers learned in trainings and to make sure they continue to attend trainings, and to check on the health and well-being of the mothers and their children.
Most recently, project staff have been conducting visits to follow up with the 10 children who visited our partner clinic, Rxiin Tnamet (re-sheen tin-a-met), in the past month to make sure they are taking their medicine properly and their health is improving.
Maternal Child Health Program Assistant, Rebeca, also explained that “because many mothers cannot read or write, it is important to do the follow up visit. Even though they they understand the doctor’s instructions at the clinic, sometimes they forget or misunderstand once they get home.”
If a child is still sick during this first follow-up visit, MCH project staff will give recommendations to the mother and conduct a second follow up visit to check on the health of the child.
This month, our communications team accompanied Rebeca to a second follow-up visit with Dolores, a 17-year-old single mother and her one-year-old son, Josue. Dolores lives in Tzanchaj, a rural community on the outskirts of Santiago Atitlan, with her mother, father, and sister. She supports herself by selling her beadwork. The family has struggled to cover the costs of medical care in the past.
When Josue became sick in January, Dolores was able to bring him to Clínica Rxiin Tnamet because of the support from Pueblo a Pueblo. At the clinic, the doctors diagnosed him with pharyngitis and gave him medicine to treat the infection. However, Dolores noticed that Josue had very little appetite because of his illness and was not eating enough. When she returned to the Rxiin Tnamet in March, the doctors diagnosed Josue with anorexia and gave him vitamins to stimulate his appetite.
At the first follow-up visit with Dolores, Rebeca saw that Josue was still struggling to eat enough food despite some small improvement. She decided to come back for a second follow-up later in the month. Last week she went back for the second visit and was happy to see that Josué was doing better. She said, “He is eating more foods besides just breastmilk, and little by little he is recuperating.” Josue has finished his medicine, but the family has continued to give him natural medicine to try to encourage his appetite more and soothe his stomach.
Rebeca used this second home visit as an opportunity to not only check on Josue’s health, but to give the family recommendations and encourage them to continue practicing the lessons they learned at trainings in their home. She will continue to follow up with Dolores and other sponsored mothers through more home visits in the coming weeks, making a big difference in the lives of these families.
Rebeca with Dolores and Josue
Dolores' mother speaks with Rebeca