Guatemala needs more doctors!

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A front page news story in Guatemala’s premier newspaper, Prensa Libre, dated June 26, 2011 is important because it discusses the problem of the unequal distribution of physicians in Guatemala.

This is a problem that Wuqu’ Kawoq as been talking about for a long time. Although medical care in Guatemala is quite good for many in the major urban areas, the absence of physicians and medical services outside these areas is one of the major reasons that the rural poor stay unhealthy.

For example, the concentration of physicians in Guatemala City in 2010 was 40 physicians per 10,000 inhabitants. Compare those numbers to the major regions where Wuqu’ Kawoq works. In Sololá, for example, there are only 1.3 physicians per 10,000 people, and in Chimaltenango there are only 1.7. In fact, fully 83% of physicians in Guatemala work exclusively in Guatemala City, despite the fact that only about one third of the population lives in city and in the metro area within easy reach of the city.

We are working hard to build infrastructure and resources that can support these rural areas, which otherwise would have very little access to health care!