Peace Corps Public Health Specialist, Leymebamba, Peru
From September 2014 through December 2016 Nora served as a Public Health Specialist with the United States Peace Corps in Peru. She worked under an initiative of the Ministry of Health to combat chronic malnutrition and anemia in children under 3. Nora worked with a rural health center, side by side with nurses visiting mothers in their homes, helping to develop strategies to the track children’s growth and avoid preventable diseases that commonly impact growth in young children.
In collaboration with Health Promoters and health post personnel, Nora developed a yearlong work plan for a “Healthy Homes Project”, targeting 20 families with children under 3 years of age, addressing topics such as: understanding the child’s health information, household hygiene and sanitation, proper nutrition, proper hand-washing techniques and habits, preparing and using safe drinking water, prevention of common childhood illnesses including diarrhea and respiratory infections, and early childhood stimulation activities, through bi-monthly house visits and monthly group-oriented educational sessions.
In addition to the Healthy Homes project, Nora worked in coordination with the local community center and town parish to organize and teach “Steps Forward,” a social skills and leadership curriculum, to a group of 22 high school and primary school students. The program covered self-esteem, leadership, communication, gender issues, discrimination and bullying, responsible use of alcohol, and teen pregnancy. The program also included confidence- and team-building activities outside of the classroom, such as competitions, field trips, and cooking classes.