On Tuesday, March 6, Dr. Melinda Dabrowski with Wuqu’ Kawoq women’s health program developer Claire Melvin presented the topic of women’s health in rural Guatemala to University of Illinois Medical Students. Dr. Dabrowski has been volunteering with Wuqu’ Kawoq for over 4 years and has made a major impact on the work that WK has been able to do to improve women’s health services.
Dr. Dabrowski described the healthcare conditions for the women living in rural Guatemala. Whether it be due to lack of education, poverty, language barriers, or access to resources, Guatemalan women experience one of the highest rates of maternal death per year in the western hemisphere. WK attempts to combat this by collaborating with Guatemalan midwives, the first and sometimes only access women have to healthcare, to provide them with better education and resources.
WK has also implemented a women’s health education program to provide Guatemalan women with information on their own sexual and reproductive health beyond pregnancy. This program provides classes as well as clinical services in Kaqchikel to rural women, many of whom have never had the opportunity to discuss their own health, family planning, or preventative care before!