Health Promotion can be defined as the process of enabling individuals and communities to increase control over and to improve their health.  We feel that back in Canada health care is focused on cure rather then health promotion and health education.

On our last day with the Matag-Ub community we have grown to love, we did a feeding program and health hygeine teaching session.  This was a great way to end our time there; by seeing health promotion in action.  The St.Paul students organized relevant information for the community that they could use about healthy foods.  They categorized the difference in foods as “grow, glow, and go”.  Grow foods are the protein giving, glow foods are the fruits and vegetables, and go foods are the energy giving foods such as rice or corn.  This we found to be a great way to set up this health promotion activity as often a barrier to health is the health promotion not being culturally appropriate.  They quizzed the children and some of the adults who had come out to see the presentation, it went very well and the community members appeared to understand what the students were educating them on.  Various members of the community were involved in the feeding program and it was amazing to see this as we feel that in Canada often health care is focused solely on the patient and not so much on their families as well.  The students used candy for prizes in a quiz game, asking about the information presented, using the technique of return demonstration as a tool for educating. The children were able to answer them, proving the feeding program to be filled with relevant information. We also included song and dance as a means for providing health teachings.  Modified versions of the songs “wash you hands”, “brush your teeth”, and “don’t you put it in your mouth”.  For fun we even threw in the “itsy bitsy spider” and “skinner merinky dinky doo” which the children loved!  We learned something as well as the children sang the “itsy bitsy spider” in Tagalog.

Once the program was complete we handed out vegetable noodles, buns and juice.  We figured we should hold off the food as that seemed to be the driving force for people coming and we wanted to ensure full participation through the whole program.  We enjoyed seeing the children sing and dance and of course we always concluded with a picture!

It was very bittersweet leaving the Ati as we know there is so much more community assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation that can be done!  However we excited for the next stage of our community rotation.

Our group with the posters of lyrics we taught the kids in regards to hygiene 
The community members who participated in the education session. 
(All pictures posted with permission)