We provide quality care for patients across the lifespan, from prenatal care for mothers and their babies, to primary care for families, to specialized care for elderly patients with chronic diseases. Across our programs, we partner with our patients in their languages and communities to provide comprehensive solutions to achieve the best possible health and well-being. Learn more about how our work aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals here.
Primary Health Care
High Quality Care for All
In this video, physician Peter Cooch discusses our approach to capacity building.
We work to strengthen primary health care in rural Guatemala. This means partnering with indigenous communities to identify health needs and to provide home-based and community-centered care for the health conditions that matter to them. We believe that primary care must be about both prevention and treatment. It must include both medical care and health education. And it must include commitments to those who suffer from long-term illnesses and disabilities. We train and support a large group of front-line health workers, including community health workers and nurses. We are a member of the international Community Health Impact Coalition and endorse their best practices related to community health work. We have special experience in diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, disability, and child malnutrition, and most of our resources are available online or by request.
Early Childhood Development and Nutrition
Investing in Our Future
Children in rural Guatemala deserve the best opportunities. Our organization is a leader in the field of early child development and nutrition, and working with infants, young children, and their families is our largest program area. We have developed and tested ground-breaking programs to improve children’s diet in collaboration with their caregivers.
We integrate these programs with interventions to foster early development, as well, such as the World Health Organization / UNICEF’s Care for Child Development package and the international Guide for Monitoring Child Development.
We advise other organizations in Guatemala to implement their own child nutrition programs, and we provide technical advice on how best to monitor and evaluate programs for impact on child development and growth. We are a member of the Alliance for Nutrition in Guatemala, a network of civil society and private sector organizations working to advance national policy around child nutrition. In this role, we work closely with the Secretariat for Nutrition and other government entities. Several recent projects we have helped to develop have included Conectate, a national resource mapping initiative for nutrition, and Nútreme, a national ad campaign.
At the same time, we recognize that child health is about inclusion. For this reason, our expert clinicians provide consultative care for children with developmental challenges or with complex illnesses such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and seizure disorders.
Learn more about our nutrition program in this video.
We are experts in using technology on smart phones to help support traditional midwives to detect pregnancy complications and refer patients to hospitals when needed. When needed, trained care navigators accompany patients to hospitals to ensure they get the care they need. This work has reduced maternal deaths and increased the number of women receiving hospital-level care dramatically.
For Every Stage of Life
We know that women have diverse medical needs. We provide medical care for thousands of women each year, with a strong focus on family planning and other primary care needs. In addition, we are especially skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer, which is a leading cause of death in Guatemala. In 2020 and 2021, we will be expanding our cervical cancer screening work to include use of HPV virus-based methods.
Learn more about our cervical cancer work here.
Chronic Disease Care
Find out more about our diabetes program
We are revolutionizing the care of chronic diseases in rural Guatemala. Our approach to chronic disease care integrates clinical care, health education, and linguistic and cultural sensitivity. By working over the long-term with patients and their families, and by investing in the skills of our nurses and community health workers, we are able to achieve excellent results. We are experts in the management of both adult and pediatric chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, kidney failure, epilepsy, and rheumatoid arthritis. In 2020 and 2021, we are scaling up our work on self-care for diabetes to multiple health districts in central Guatemala.
Breaking Down Barriers
We stop at nothing to get our patients the health care they need and deserve. We have pioneered an innovative care navigation system for patients living with complex illness in rural Guatemala. This enables us to successfully treat congenital heart disease, inborn errors of metabolism, end-stage kidney disease, complex surgical cases, and advanced cancers, among other conditions. Our team of case managers speak Mayan languages and do whatever it takes to overcome the barriers to health care for our indigenous patients.
Mayan Language Research and Field School
Keeping Mayan Languages Alive
Maya Health Board President Brent Henderson on the power of providing health care in Mayan Languages.
Around the world, speakers of indigenous languages have worse health outcomes. However, they are often excluded from research opportunities because working in indigenous languages can be challenging. We are leaders in Guatemala in conducting health care and health research in local Mayan languages. Read our opinion piece on the ethical imperative of working in indigenous languages in Lancet Global Health here.
We also partner with the University of Maryland Language Science Center and its intensive Kaqchikel language field school. Learn more about the Kaqchikel language program here.