Delivering quality health care is paramount to our core mission. One full time medical doctor (a general practitioner), 2 nurses, a psychologist, a dentist, and a pharmacist make up our health team.
Our services include general and preventive care, critical/emergency care, special needs including adults and children with cancer, cerebral palsy, congenital heart problems, spina bifida and more. Dental services include cleaning, extractions, and restorative procedures. During each patient visit, we emphasize education about lifestyle changes to encourage and sustain self-care to live healthier lives.
We engage and empower the local people to play an active role in improving their health. Patients pay a symbolic fee of 20 Quetzales (about $3) for the doctor’s consult and any medication. Patients pay a nominal fee for dental services depending on the procedure. For those patients who cannot pay, their treatment and medicine are free.
Water Delivery Systems
The global safe water crisis is much more than just a lack of safe water. People are trapped in cyclical poverty with no way out. The majority of the villages in our work area lack safe, running water at their homes. Having a source of safe water is a tremendously positive change for every family.
Once homes have running water women and girls no longer need to make several trips to carry water from a distant source to their homes. Mothers have more time to care for their families. Children are cleaner and have fewer incidences of skin problems, diarrhea and water-borne diseases.
Once a village has expressed a need for a water project, a feasibility study and engineering design is done. The beneficiaries must agree to supply unskilled labor and support the project with a contribution of 25% of the cost of the construction materials. Support from the local mayor and various proofs of ownership must be supplied to us including the purchase of the spring and the land under the distribution tank. Many times communities work 3 or 4 years developing a water project from start to finish.
Hundreds of families in our work area go to the bathroom outdoors which can contaminate food sources and cause disease. Composting latrines require no water, have no odor, no flies, and can be built close to their house. After each use either lime or ashes are applied to accelerate the decomposing process. The compost is suitable to fertilize their crops thus eliminating the need to purchase fertilizer.
In Guatemala, indigenous women living in extreme poverty spend 6 – 8 hours every day cooking on indoor open fires. These cook stoves expose families to toxic smoke resulting in chronic illnesses including respiratory problems, eye irritations, chronic cough, headaches, and burns. Excessive consumption of wood causes deforestation and has a devastating impact on the environment.
Efficient, vented Chapina stoves transform the way women cook in rural Guatemala. The stove vents 99.9% of toxic smoke outside and uses 70% less wood. Cooking time is reduced because tortillas can be made while pots are cooking on the same surface. Burns are eliminated and health of the entire family improves.