Article

The Association of Communitarian Health Services (ASECSA) and the Role of Religion and Health in Central America

Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History


Published online August 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780199366439 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199366439.013.45

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Latin American History
  • History of Religion
  • History of Science and Technology

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

The Association of Communitarian Health Services (ASECSA) is a transnational, religiously influenced health program in Central America created during the Cold War. ASECSA was founded in 1978 by a small group of international health professionals with ties to programs started by Catholic and Protestant clergy and laity in Guatemala’s western highlands in the 1960s. It introduced a model of healthcare in which Maya health promoters and midwives became partners in healing rather than objects to be cured. Support for the health programs and ASECSA came from secular and religious international agencies, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), German Misereor, Catholic Relief Services, and the World Council of Churches. ASECSA was founded to disseminate knowledge of popular health education strategies used by health promoters and midwives to provide preventive and curative medical services to their communities. The education methods grew from Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and its use by religious agents influenced by liberation theology. Although it was founded in Guatemala, ASECSA’s publications and meetings attracted participation by health professionals and paraprofessionals from Mexico, Central America, and even the Caribbean. Ecumenical religious centers affiliated with liberation theology in the 1960s and 1970s facilitated the development of popular health programs that played a defining role in the region.

Keywords: health conditions in Guatemala; health promoters; religion and health; medical mission; health and international aid; private voluntary organizations; health activism

Article.  8962 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Latin American History ; History of Religion ; History of Science and Technology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or login to access all content.