Health – A healthy student can focus on learning

Basic healthcare services are provided in Guatemala through a series of government-operated clinics.  More complex procedures such as cleft palate, vision care, dental work are out of reach for most Maya families where the annual income of $900 barely covers food and shelter.  Amigos de Guatemala is helping scholarship students receive the medical treatment they need in order to thrive.  By partnering with dentists and other healthcare providers, we are able to treat them without any cost to the student or their family. Many students are identified with dental issues ranging from minor decay to major issues such as infection and the need for root canals. Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a rise in the need to treat mental health issues. Some students were afraid to return to a group setting. While others were subject to mental and physical abuse that was exacerbated during the lockdown.

Assisting the medical clinic

40′ container full of medical equipment

In 2016, the executive director of the local clinic serving a sprawling, sparsely populated area of 40,000 people asked for help.  The building was constructed and equipped in the late 1970s.  Most of the equipment was out of date or broken.  The baby scale had not worked for years!  We approached Project CURE for help.  

Project CURE is the world’s largest distributor of donated medical equipment and supplies to resource-limited communities.  Project CURE believes WHERE you live shouldn’t determine WHETHER you live.

During our annual visit in 2017, a resource officer from Project CURE did an assessment of the equipment needs at the main clinic and two satellite offices.  This resulted one year later in the delivery of a 40-foot shipping container stuffed with equipment valued at $500,000.  Amigos de Guatemala arranged and paid for shipping while the first lady of Guatemala covered the import duties.

With the new equipment, the government was so impressed that they remodeled the clinic, expanded the floor space and upgraded its status to a 24/7 care facility, which includes a maternity ward and an emergency room.

Healthcare for newborns

Zacualpa Comadronas (midwives) Project CURE team was so inspired by the work of Amigos de Guatemala and the remote area where we work that they offered a training of area midwives and medical professionals in the latest techniques for Helping Babies Breathe in the first minute after birth.   There are more than 150 midwives in the area.  Their leaders were skeptical at first and the training opened with a hurdle.  The Spanish speaking Project CURE team did not speak the native K’iche’.  A member of the medical clinic staff was dispatched to translate from Spanish to the Maya language during the two-day training sessions that took place in September.  A side benefit was helping overcome distrust between midwives and clinic staff.  When the Amigos team returned in January they were advised that midwives had saved four lives during that Golden Minute thanks to the training.

Most recently, the group was very receptive to learning the life-saving techniques of Helping Babies Survive, also developed by the American Pediatric Society, during the first three days after birth.

Healthcare Projects that Need Funding

Entrance Roof to the Medical Center’s Emergency Room – Funded

In 2016 the Executive Director of the local medical center faced a building full of outdated and broken down equipment.  The scale for weighing babies hadn’t worked for years.  The walls needed painting and the lights were dim.  She approached Amigos de Guatemala for help.  We contacted Project CURE*, explaining the need for this broken-down medical center in the remote highlands of Guatemala where, for many, the native language of K’iche’ was still used.  Project CURE dispatched a staff member to do a needs assessment and within a year shipped a 40-foot container stuffed with equipment such as exam tables and medicine refrigerators. Drawers and cabinets were filled with supplies needed to run an efficient clinic. 

Friends of Amigos de Guatemala raised the $35k to ship the container from a warehouse near Phoenix to Zacualpa.  The gear donated by Project CURE was valued at more than $500,000.  The First Lady of Guatemala stepped up to cover the import fees.

With the quality of equipment now on site the Guatemala government has upgraded the facility, serving a sprawling area of 40,000 people, to 24/7; built a new wing, painted the interior and upgraded the lighting system.  The request is for roofing over the emergency room entrance to protect patients and staff from the elements. 

Request – Q74,475/$9,700US

*Project CURE:  Provides donated medical supplies and equipment to hospitals and clinics in the under-developed world. Over the last 30 years, we’ve learned a lot, and grown the scope and the reach of our programs, because ultimately we believe WHERE you live shouldn’t determine WHETHER you live. Today, Project C.U.R.E. offers numerous sustainable solutions to global health problems and issues. Project CURE is a trusted ally of Amigos de Guatemala.

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