Association of Community Health Educators Rio de Janeiro (AECS)

Asociación de educadores de salud de la comunidad

In 1996, the first health clinic was built near Rio de Janeiro by the Association of Community Health Educators Rio de Janeiro. The clinic began with four volunteer doctors for a few hours each week as well as student interns. In June 1999, the Family Health Program was instituted, prioritizing preventative health care instead of just curative health care. In 2013, they continued the four courses for the Training of Community Health Educators and three classes graduated with a total of 44 students.  The Association of Community Health Educators is proud of the fact that in the 17 years of their existence, so many of the former students in this program have changed the lives of so many, principally women, who had never been able to continue their studies because of children and family, the customary role for women.  The main objective of this course has always been not only to empower but to encourage further studies, thereby increasing professional opportunities for women.

Along with the splendor of the well-known beaches and Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, lie the favelas (shantytowns) and high levels of poverty for a large proportion of the population. Many Brazilian shantytown women have been trained as grassroots health educators over the years by leaders of the programs leading up to the current Association of Community Health Educators and the Family Health Clinic in Rio de Janeiro.  These grassroots health educators from the shantytowns have worked with neighboring families in their communities on matters of preventive health care and public health issues.  The health educators also facilitate networking and advocacy in order to call local authorities to their responsibility in providing adequate conditions for positive community health.

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