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Health Promotores' Perceptions of their Communities' Health Needs, Knowledge, and Resource Needs in Rural Nicaragua

Authors


Correspondence to:

Ruth McDermott-Levy, Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19095. E-mail: ruth.mcdermott-levy@villanova.edu

Abstract

Objectives

This study was conducted to determine rural Nicaraguan health promotores' perceptions of their community's health problems, their self-identified learning needs, and resource needs. Despite the valuable contributions of promotores, there is limited research regarding unpaid volunteer promotores' perceptions of their needs in providing care to remote communities.

Design and Sample

A qualitative descriptive study of 13 unpaid, volunteer promotores in Waslala, Nicaragua, was conducted.

Measures

Data were collected during individual interviews with seven promotores and two focus groups with 13 promotores. Data were analyzed by reading verbatim transcripts repeatedly and establishing general themes. Promotores confirmed the findings.

Results

Waslalan promotores described a synergy of traditional folk health beliefs and natural practices along with use of modern medications while working to meet the health needs of their communities. Without much formal training, the promotores used public health strategies to influence health behaviors and address health disparities in the communities they serve. Serving their communities and God were their motivation in their work.

Conclusions

Recommendations include supporting efforts to meet promotores' needs regarding community health education with messages from community leaders and nurses, finding methods to financially compensate promotores, and including promotores in health program planning and evaluation.

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