Wuqu' Kawoq

Wuqu' Kawoq's mission is to address the barriers to excellent health care that the majority of Guatemala's indigenous Maya population face, including principally the lack of access to health care in their own languages. As such, Wuqu' Kawoq develops primary care and health programs within a larger context of community vitality, family stability,and Mayan language revitalization.
Nov 15, 2011

Site visits to 5 communities

Dear friends,

I am just back from a great trip to Guatemala where, together with our nutrition staff and pediatricians, we made the rounds on 5 communities which are enrolled in the Plumpydoz project, funded by you all!

In all communities, we were very pleased with the progress that the children are making. Most children and mothers really enjoy using the Plumpydoz product, and we are seeing some early encouraging results in each location. For example, mothers report that their children have better appetites and are getting sick less often. Additionally, we saw many cases where the Plumpydoz is already making a big difference for children in terms of their growth. We expect that, as time goes on, these effects will become more and more pronounced.

Also, in each community, we took the time to visit with several very ill children. As you can probably imagine, whenever we start a nutrition program in a new community, we always find at least a few children who have previously undiagnosed illnesses other than malnutrition, such as congenital heart disease, seizures, etc. Since there really is no primary care for children in Guatemala, often visits with our doctors are the first these children have had. As part of our community based nutrition work, however, we at Wuqu' Kawoq also commit to treating any other medical condition we find in the children that we serve.

Thanks once again for all of your support and generosity in this project, and stay tuned for more updates! As always, email me at peter@wuqukawoq.org with any questions or concerns.

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Nov 7, 2011

Why does Diabetes Care Matter?

Dear friends, for us hear at Wuqu' Kawoq, our diabetes program in near and dear to our hearts. It was our first program ever, and still to this date one of our more successful. But we often get asked by others why we have chosen to focus so many of our resources on diabetes.

Here's the reason why. Although many people, when they think about developing countries, they think about infectious diseases like tuberculosis and HIV and malaria. However, in reality, a majority of deaths in the world are caused not by infectious diseases, but rather by chronic medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

Speaking of diabetes in particular, almost 350 million people in the world have diabetes, and 80% of those live in poor countries. Over the next 20 years, the number of deaths worldwide from diabetes will double. In Guatemala rates of diabetes are rising. For example the rate of diabetes in women in Guatemala was 8% in 1980; today it is around 14%.

For these reasons it is essential that non profit health organizations begin to develop effective programs to target diabetes and other chronic conditions in the poor populations they serve. It is heartbreaking to us to hear stories like that of Fernando, one of our diabetic patients. He came to us discouraged and overwhelmed, suffering from both diabetes and heart failure. He had been told by another medical clinic that there was 'nothing that could be done' and that he should return home and put his affairs in order.

We at Wuqu' Kawoq, however, do not believe that chronic medical problems need to be a death sentence, and we believe that poor persons are entitled to effective and high quality treatments for their health problems. This is why we have a diabetes program, and we thank you so much for believing in and supporting our vision!

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Nov 7, 2011

Expanding access to Women's Health Care

Dear Friends,

As you have been hearing about in our recent program updates for this project, a major focus of our efforts this year in our midwifery and women's health programs as been improvement of the quality of our educational offerings for women.

To this end, we have been running general educational classes for women of all ages and professions, where small groups of women get together to discuss important topics, like sexual health and contraception. These classes are facilitated by female Wuqu' Kawoq staff members, which creates an intimate and confidential space to discuss these important topics.

We are now happy to say that we are in our 6th round of these classes, and enrollment continues to grow! We are now offering simultaneous class sessions both in our central Santiago clinic location as well as in several rural communities where we have a clinical presence due to other activities (like child malnutrition programs).

In addition to being a great educational opportunity for the women in our communities, these classes also serve as a great way to introduce women to the concept of their basic health care needs. Each participant is offered full access to our clinical services, which means that these classes are providing a way for women to get pap smears, screening for sexually transmitted infections, treatment for menstrual problems, and the like.

All of these services are provided by skilled female nursing staff, with back up from our doctors as needed, and we have been very excited by how enthusiastic women are to participate!

In the coming year we plan to keep growing this program, and our target for these classes, and the associated health care package, will be to reach at least 250 new women in 12 months.

Thanks as always for your support, and feel free to email us with questions or comments at any time (contact@wuqukawoq.org).

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