Concern America has a unique and award-winning health care model. The Health Promoter Practitioner program trains members of the community to be their own health care providers, which has brought affordable and accessible health care to remote communities in Colombia, Mexico, and Guatemala.
Many of the communities in which Concern America works have no trained health workers whatsoever, and the nearest health facility is often hours away. The simplest solution might appear to be to send a doctor, nurse or public health specialist to serve the community; but this is an unreliable, unsustainable option as they often can only stay for a few days or weeks.
Concern America sends health/public health professionals who train local people, selected by their own communites, to become primary health care workers. The role of the Health Promoter Practitioners is to diagnose and treat illnesses, and to provide education and organization to improve the health of the community. The training also includes midwives who focus on women's health, as well as dental promoters.
Health Promoter Practitioners and Midwives
The Health Promoter Practitioners and midwives usually have little formal education and no background in health care work. They are taught about the causes and treatments of common illnesses, including how to use World Health Organization-designated "Essential Medicines." Often, they are helped to start a self-sustaining community medicine dispensary, making the medicines they have studied available at low cost to community members.
An integral part of this health training is leadership formation and community organization. The community is involved at all levels of training and administration, and makes all major decisions as a community. This approach recognizes that in order to create truly healthy communities, in addition to health care and education, we must also address socioeconomic and environmental factors that lead to poor health.