The coronavirus has moved through rural Guatemala, as it has across the world, creating new health threats for some of our most vulnerable communities. Jobs and incomes have disappeared, and malnutrition, which was already at devastating levels, is getting worse. The pandemic has overwhelmed the country’s health care system, making it even harder for people with conditions like diabetes and cancer to get the care they need.
The number of children with acute malnutrition in Guatemala has tripled since 2019. Every 30 minutes, a child with acute malnutrition is detected in Guatemala. Prensa Libre 6/5/20
Even before the coronavirus was detected in Guatemala, Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu’ Kawoq and our supporters began mobilizing to protect our communities.
By leveraging our core strengths, we’ve been able to quickly build a powerful, comprehensive response:
We helped more than 300 health care workers return to their rural health posts.
BUILDING HEALTH CARE CAPACITY
- We started with our own team, securing personal protective equipment (PPE) so they can continue to work safely.
- At the request of our partners at University of San Carlos, we purchased PPE to enable 320 medical students to return to work at remote government health centers that had been without doctors for 6 weeks.
- We’ve provided online training for hundreds of doctors in Guatemala on how to deal with COVID19 patients.
INCREASING IMPACT THROUGH COLLABORATION
- We created and shared some of the country’s first protocols for safety in the office and in the field.
- We organized the COVID19-502GT WhatsApp Group to share information and resources. The group has grown to include more than 180 members from over 100 different organizations.
- We created our COVID-19 Resource Page to share this information more broadly.
We’re leaning into longstanding partnerships with non-profits, government, and funders to expand the reach and capacity of our coronavirus response efforts.
We’re doing everything possible to make information on the coronavirus accessible to all.
UNITING MEDICINE, CULTURE, AND LANGUAGE
- We’ve produced a set of 10 videos on COVID-19 in Spanish and seven Mayan languages. Audio versions are available via WhatsApp and Facebook and broadcast via radio. See them here!
- We’re translating in Kaqchikel for the University of San Carlos medical hotline.
- With support from Partners in Asia, and our partner non-profits we’re collaborating on educational radio spots and a Living with COVID-19 radio show on the coronavirus and topics such as diabetes, women’s rights, family planning, and nutrition. These programs are produced in a variety of languages, including Spanish, Kaqchikel, Kiche, and Tzutujil. See more here!
STRENGTHENING PRIMARY HEALTH CARE
- Using our established infrastructure for home care and telemedicine, we’re continuing to provide service to our 20,000 patients.
- We’re maintaining our community health clinics using social distancing measures in common areas.
- We launched Conectados GuateVida, a COVID-19 hotline for rural Guatemalans in Mayan languages. This project earned an award from the Guatemalan Secretariat of Technology and Science.
We’re staying connected with our patients using telemedicine, clinic, and in-home visits.
We are stepping up our fight against malnutrition with food deliveries and nutrition guidance.
FOCUSING ON THE MANY LAYERS OF WELLBEING, STARTING WITH THE ESSENTIALS
- We’re providing food supplies for 1,000+ families with support from the United Way and other partners. Families receive enough to feed a family of five for a month.
- We’re providing jobs for 50 local staff.
- We’re supplying ongoing nutrition guidance and supplements for 500+ children.