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Health Promotors Win Award

December 28, 2007

Doctor surrounded by children Hesperian partner, El Comité Asociado de Promotores Interétnicos del Bajo Atrato en Salud (COAPIBAS), or the Interethnic Committee of Associated Health Promoters of the Lower Atrato, recently won The Clarence H. Moore Award for Voluntary Service. COAPIBAS was one of many groups nominated for the award granted by thePan American Health and Education Foundation which recognizes outstanding contributions to public health by volunteers or non-governmental organizations working to improve the lives of the peoples of Latin American and the Caribbean.

COAPIBAS is an organization of local health promoters and midwives who work against the backdrop of war-torn Columbia, offering training courses and providing health care in their villages. This region of Columbia has about 40,000 displaced people who have almost no access to health care, roads, running water, electricity, sanitation systems, pharmacies, stores or schools.

COAPIBAS has partnered with Concern America, an international development and refugee aid organization, to help meet the emergency health needs of the region and set up a sustainable health system. Together they have established midwifery trainings with community visits, training female health workers to perform pap smear exams, and provided one community with rainwater collection tanks. Where There Is No Doctor is heavily relied upon for their trainings and outreach. For many of the health promoters, Where There Is No Doctor may be the only book they have ever owned.

COAPIBAS is also developing itself as a grassroots advocacy organization. They have met with the Columbian government and PAHO, advocating for the recognition of health promoters in the region.

Read more about training local health workers in Colombia.

Concern America currently has volunteer openings in Colombia and Bolivia.