Meet Ofelia! Ofelia is a Mother Counselor in Guatemala.
Ofelia (27) lives in the community of Sehaquibá, an hour and a half from Cobán. She began serving as a MTI volunteer after the death of her mother Magdalena, who was a Mother Counselor herself. Ofelia has now been volunteering with MTI for over two and a half years and has ten families in her care. Each month she meets with the mothers of these families to share the health education she receives through MTI. Ofelia is enthusiastic and enjoys her work because she loves seeing the families healthy. Since the death of her mother, Ofelia has taken on the role of mother within her family to care for her six younger brothers and sisters.
Prior to volunteering as a Mother Counselor, Ofelia said that she was not well known within her community and that she was unfamiliar with health practices important in the care of children under 5, pregnant women, and lactating mothers, and was not involved in the work of community health workers in her community. Since taking on the role of Mother Counselor, Ofelia said she is now well recognized in her community for her strong leadership and involvement in MTI’s activities. She is now familiar with a variety of health themes related to the prevention of childhood illnesses and childhood mortality, and she said she applies all of this knowledge within the care of her own family members.
Ofelia said that her family no longer suffers from respiratory illnesses since they received a stove through MTI, and that this has helped families throughout the community to lower their outgo for medicines and fuel for preparing their meals.
Prior to the involvement of MTI in her community, Ofelia said that families were not worried about their hygiene practices around their homes and that since they did not have latrines these poor hygiene practices caused a number of illnesses such as diarrhea. Ofelia noted that thanks to the support of Medical Teams International, all families in her community have latrines, practice better hygiene, and the children are healthy and growing well.
Ofelia said families practice good hygiene as a result of being given health education on this as well as topics such as care for children under 5, hand-washing, supplementary feeding, danger signs of pneumonia, diarrhea, prenatal and postnatal check-ups, and family planning.
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Story by Brittn Grey