September Updates


Collaboration with midwives

Our relationship with the ACOTCHI cooperative in Comalapa continues to evolve. We have recently built a a new ACOTCHI website, which you can see in its nearly-completed form at the link above in our menu bar.

Recently we purchased 50 copies of the Hesperian Foundation’s Book for Midwives, which will be given free of charge to the ACOTCHI members. This represents half of our goal of 100 copies this year. Feel free to donate specifically to this at the ‘help’ tab above if you would like to see us meet this goal this year!

Recently, we also purchased equipment for ACOTCHI for the measurement of blood glucose and urine analysis, two very important items in any high-quality program of prenatal care. Just this last week we donated a high-quality microscope, which will permit them to perform more essential blood, urine, and fecal tests, such as for parasites and other infections.

New focus in Santiago

At the August board meeting, the future and direction of the work in Santiago was discussed, and the decision was made to exert effort to expand primarily in the direction of diabetes-related care, with a strong focus on community education classes and the training of local health promoters. Currently, the roster of regular patients is 150, of whom 57 are handicapped or very elderly and therefore visited in the home. We have 16 diabetic patients who are all received regular home visits, nutritional education, glucose testing, and financial support for medication purchasing. We would like to expand this number to over 50 patients this year, but your help is needed to make this happen!

In other exciting news, this week we hired our first official local employee, who will be overseeing the diabetes program as it grows, performing all the glucose testing, education, and intake of new patients as this program grows.

Clean water

Peter Rohloff and Anne Kraemer have been working on developing a clean water solution for one of our small partner communities on the Boca Costa. Recent work has including preliminary water quality analysis of several potential natural spring sources, a community-wide census and survey of water source and usage needs, and, most excitingly, a developing partnership with the University of Illinois Engineers Without Borders chapter, which has agreed to take on the project.

Maternal-Child Health Census

Wuqu’ Kawoq has just taken on a major new project in Comalapa and Tecpan. In partnership with ACOTCHI, we will be performing a large ethnographic study designed to assess current midwifery practices and diagnoses major deficiencies in practice. Interviews in dozens of aldeas in both town will be conducted by locally-based collaborators (in Kaqchikel, of course) with both practicing midwives and their patients. This project has a planned start date of November 2007.

Training sessions

Peter Rohloff, our executive director, will be giving a training session in Comalapa on Sept 18 on the identification of parasites in fecal samples. He has two more training sessions scheduled on the safe and effective use of medicinal plants, one in Comalapa on October 16th and the other in Tecpan on October 18th.