20 Solving Health Problems
Juanita lives in a small village in the mountains of western
Honduras where she and her husband grow corn on a small
plot of land. Their land does not produce enough to feed their
3 children, so several times each year Juanita’s husband, Raul,
goes off to the coast with other men from the village to work
on the banana plantations.
About 3 weeks after the last time her
husband returned home from the coast, Juanita
began to notice more discharge than usual from
her vagina. Then she started having pain when
passing urine. Juanita knew that something was
wrong, but she had no idea what it was.
Juanita decided to ask her friend Suyapa for
help. Suyapa suggested drinking teas made from
corn silk, because this had helped her when she
had had pain passing urine. So Juanita tried the
teas—but the pain and discharge did not go
away. Suyapa then recommended the remedy
her friend María del Carmen had used for pains
after childbirth. The local midwife had given María a cotton
cloth filled with plant medicines to wrap around her belly. When
Juanita tried the remedy and it didn’t work, she thought putting
the medicines inside her vagina might be better. But nothing
helped, and her signs kept on bothering her.
Finally Juanita decided to go see the health worker, Don
Pedro. She felt shy about having a man examine her, but by this
time she was scared that something serious was wrong.
What is the problem?
Step 1: Start with
doubt. This means
admitting you do not
know the answer yet.
Don Pedro told Juanita that in order to help her, he
needed to learn as much about the illness as possible.
So he asked Juanita these questions:
Step 2: Find out as
much as possible about
the problem. Ask
questions like these:
• When did you first notice
• What signs made you suspect
that something was wrong?
• How often do you have these
signs? What are they like?
• Have you ever had these signs
before, or has anyone in your
family or community had them
• Does anything make the signs
better or worse?
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012