Training Student Health Advocates

In his late 50’s, Mr. Tie has held a solid position at the Shuangjiang County Center for Disease Control and Prevention in south west Yunnan province. This region is home to many ethnic minority groups in villages that have been lagging behind in development. CWEF has partnered with county offices to install drinking water systems for many of these villages. He has witnessed and helped to facilitate many projects for rural families facing poverty.

The installation of a drinking water system changes the daily life of villagers in many ways. But to achieve improved health, people need to learn how to prevent disease and to receive all the benefits of accessible water. CWEF provides this type of educational support through the Health Education Advocacy & Literacy (HEAL) project.  One of the cornerstones of the HEAL program is training health advocates, who model and teach good hygiene practices including hand washing, teeth brushing, and disease prevention measures.

CWEF health projects director Jenny Chu enlisted the help of Mr. Tie to initiate the HEAL project at Banggai primary school. His background in disease prevention was instrumental in conducting baseline surveys of the children’s health situations and then creating easy-to-understand educational materials for the students and teachers.

Although this was the first time Mr. Tie worked with young children, he felt the training was very successful. Teaching children good hygiene habits can last a life-time. He believes that through the health education program, “educated students can influence children who are the same age and even their parents.” This is a core component of the HEAL program, that children and adults receive training and are advocates for good health practices like hand washing and proper food preparation techniques.

As Mr. Tie approaches retirement, he hopes to continue serving with CWEF as a HEAL project volunteer. His training was well received by the primary school students and teachers.  He hopes to “have more time to focus on health training and pass on the health knowledge to more people in need.” CWEF is thankful for partners like Mr. Tie who are using their talents and knowledge to help create thriving communities.

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