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ASESA BEGINS IN LATE 70S AND EARLY 80S
(HAMLING MARIA ZUNIGA)

When we first started with the idea of ASECSA, there was already a group working with health promoters within different parts of the country. We started as 27 different organizations, which have the same idea of unifying. However, in that period the term NGO was unknown. Consequently, we started to build up an Association. We called association because it is something that remains as a term of reference for all the members. When we started there was not much personal or people working. The board of directors was elected by those 27 organizations, and from the same ones were formed the working commissions. In 1977 took place the first forum in San Rafael Las Hortensias .The main discussion on this encounter was focused on search for solutions to tackle the health necessities from the different communities. Also within this forum was created a commission to approach all the pharmaceutical issues, since there was an increase in their misuse, which arrived to the communities, together with their commercialization and the unavailability.

On the other hand, another commission was create. The committee's role was to determinate and standardize the selection criteria and training topics for health promoters, since before that there was not any standardize criteria and each territory followed their own ones. After the Association was legally build appeared the board of directors and committees. At the beginning the people working in these positions were partners. Consequently if a person had more experience in the pharmaceutical assistance he was invited to join the specific committee.

Some partners left and do not participate anymore; however over the last few years several have joined and continue with ASECSA until today. Even if there is not a way to know if ASECSA partners still as compromise as the beginning, the idea of ASECSA of building up a partnership program was enforced as a method of maintaining a large force against critical situations from the present moment and for the future. It’s important to highlight that ASECSA was founded in a period of high repression in the country. I remembered that between 1980 and 1981 people started to have in mind the idea of closing ASECSA, since a lot of promoters were killed. However, our conscience refused to give up.

During that time, people were internally displaced, people who are forced to flee their homes and foreigners which had worked for long periods of time out to their countries to make it work. I had to leave Guatemala. Many have sacrificed their lives for ASECSA and I think it was worth it.
Partner programs need to continue playing an important role, by participating and understanding what it really means an Association and at the same time they should be able to influence on a way or another in ASECSA´s work. Back in time we tried to push an association of promoters, independent from ASECSA and this is not antagonist to the our work. ASECSA is an association that provides community service and represent an association of organizations. Consequently the promotion of an independent association of promoters should born or be a part of a popular movement. If the idea born from a popular movement we have to support and no lead it. When we speak about community work, we must be willing to not be owner of it. There are a lot of people who say, "That's my promoter"; however the promoter must be from the community, not from a program or person since that´s paternalism. It´s the same as midwives, who are from the community and their actions and way of addressing live comes from the worldview (Cosmovisión) of their people. Nowadays, there are many divisions in the same health promoters group; and this is very sad, because it shouldn´t be happening among promoters or between the people of the community since all of them are pursuing the same objectives.

Health promoters are an essential group that covers many health necessities in the communities, however some governments have tried to dissolve these groups. Consequently, we must remain unified against this situation, which tries in an accelerated way to privatize the health sector. We have to change our work and be proactive and revise and analyse what we are doing wrong in order to improve. On the other side there is a need of having a political force in order to be able to tackle and defend all the health issues an inequalities that are visible within the country.

In many places and countries health promoters or midwives don´t exist, therefore they don´t have an alternative. There is not an own traditional medicine such as the one from the indigenous peoples in Guatemala. Consequently to achieve objectives, we must remain pro positive and proactive within technical and political environment in order to change nowadays situation and reality of the communities from our country.

MYSTICAL OR PHILOSOPHICAL INSPIRATION FROM ASECSA FOUNDERS (1,978)

In ASECSA, there is a conscious and visionary attitude towards the work in community health, which together with an auto determination and participation of the community tries to achieve a better future for all the population

Current actions taken out in Guatemala to cover primary health care were considered ineffective. Consequently it´s important to analyse the real situation within the communities and empower them to participate and coordinate actions with national and international programs, governmental or non-governmental to optimize resources and provide the necessary attention, which requires and deserves our society.

 

Health seeks the human welfare and people should be aware of the importance duty that means the participation, restoration, development and sustainability of it. Taking into account the previous factors, actions should be taken in order to achieve growth and human development within the country. These needs should be considered by all of out partners and each one of us establishing communication and cooperation between all by contributing to make a fraternal attitude among partners and similar programs.

PHILOSOPHY STATEMENT OF ASECSA
(At its founding 1978)

The current healthcare system has proven to be ineffective in transforming the health care in rural and sub-urban areas. The solution of health problems must come from the organization of grassroots groups willing to work with appropriate techniques and resources in order to give a wider and a more efficient coverage.

ASECSA is founded with the primary objective of improving the coverage of health services by promoting the use of resources, which promote primary health care. In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to organize the existing community health services and make accessible the tools and necessary resources to provide these services while at the same time explore new alternatives to improve health care.

In medium to long term, it’s expected that all these activities might be introduced to other public or private sector but always pursuing a common objective, the improvement of the health in the communities.

6ta. Calle de las Margaritas 3-122 Zona 1, Quintas Los Aposentos I, Chimaltenango. Guatemala C.A. PBX: (502) 7790-5454 Telefax: 78391332 asecsa2@yahoo.com