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.
Feb 22, 2011

Community manual for diabetes education

Working on the manual
Working on the manual

Starting in January 2011, work began in earnest on our new diabetes training manual. The idea for this manual came out of a collaboration we have with INCAP (Institute of Nutrition in Central America and Panama) and APRECOR (Guatemalan Association for Prevention of Heart Disease) to develop better educational resources for Kaqchikel speaking diabetic patients. Starting with resources originally developed for an urban, non indigenous Guatemalan population, Wuqu' Kawoq is embarking on an extensive cultural and linguistic revision of these materials to make them more appropriate for our target population. The end result will be a training manual, consisting of seven interactive sessions, which can be used to teach health promoters to lead group-based sessions with diabetic patients in their communities. As part of the revision, new handouts and patient education illustrations, especially designed for low-literate populations, are being developed.

Work on this manual is now well underway. Linguists from Kaqchikel Cholchi', the Kaqchikel linguistics organization, are collaborating with Wuqu' Kawoq staff to produce the adaptation, which will then be field tested on select groups of volunteer patients and health promoters prior to release to the general public. Staff from both organizations are meeting weekly at the offices of Kaqchikel Cholchi' in Chimaltenango to move this project forward.

At the same time as this exciting new work is going on, we continue to provide the same high quality diabetes care to patients as always!


Jan 24, 2011

Moving forward with malnutriton projects!

Workers from Paquip and Paya
Workers from Paquip and Paya' Weighing Children

Dear Friends,

The last few months have been very exciting for us here at Wuqu’ Kawoq! Thanks to your generosity, we have raised many more funds for our child malnutrition work than we thought possible.

Consequently, our board and staff have been planning carefully how best to make use of these funds. In addition to the project in Paquip, we plan to use the money over the year to expand into similar rural communities in a staged fashion.

We have already taken the first steps forward in this direction. This week, members of the Paquip health committee made site visits to our other malnutrition programs to see how they work and to learn from the community members who run them. At the same time, we had meetings with the leadership of the community, who have approved the project and are excited to begin.

We have already placed our order for the Plumpy’Doz product that will be used to provide nutritional supplementation for these children, and we anticipate that it will arrive in Guatemala in the next month or two!

In addition to this program in Paquip, your generosity will allow us to provide the same services in at least 4 additional communities. We are working with local community leaders to identify these communities, hire the necessary additional staff, and begin scaling up these programs.

Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months!

Patient Waiting in Line
Patient Waiting in Line
Medical Exams for Children
Medical Exams for Children


Jan 11, 2011

Progress in 2010 and Plans for 2011

Women’s health services are severely lacking in most regions of Guatemala, but much more so in the areas where the majority of the population is indigenous. Wuqu’ Kawoq has been working to improve women’s healthcare in Guatemala in a number of ways since its inception in 2007. However, this year, with the funding raised during our Global Giving fundraising campaign in October, Wuqu’ Kawoq has expanded its women’s healthcare program to provide more services in more areas of the country, with a greater focus on sexual and reproductive health and education than before.

Since 2007, Wuqu’ Kawoq has collaborated with a group of midwives called ACOTCHI (Asociación civil de Comadronas Tradicionales de Chimaltenango) based in the department of Chimaltenango. This group of midwives started in 2004 to create a network through which needs, information, resources, and support can be shared. These midwives are immensely dedicated, resourceful, and have come together to provide the best healthcare possible for the women of Chimaltenango. Wuqu’ Kawoq has specifically been working with them in clinical settings as well as in educational classes conducted by U.S. physicians (translated into Kaqchikel) to complement their work with more information and resources. In return, the physicians and Wuqu’ Kawoq learn more about the work the midwives are doing and their roles as major health providers in the communities of Guatemala. 

In November of 2010, two volunteer pediatricians, Drs. Ty Melvin and Jane Striegel, from the Carle Physicians Group of Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Illinois, joined in teaching classes about neonatal resuscitation. Each midwife was provided a Laerdal Paediatric Pocket Mask used to administer effective mouth-to-mouth to infants not breathing after birth. These classes took place in Tecpán and San Juan Comalapa for three sessions in total. Each midwife practiced resuscitating an infant mannequin (made to simulate breathing once given effective mouth-to-mouth) while their peers and the physicians looked on to ensure proper technique. These classes were extremely successful and provided simple yet indispensable information and resources for assisting an infant to breath in the critical first minute of life.

In addition to working with midwives, Wuqu’ Kawoq is implementing two new branches of the women’s healthcare program for 2011. The first branch is educational, and the second is clinical. Starting in January of 2011, Wuqu’ Kawoq will hold sexual and reproductive health classes in Kaqchikel on topics like these: sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer, family planning, and contraception. These classes will initially be held in Santiago and San Pedro, in the department of Sacatepéquez, for women aged 15 and up.The clinical branch of this program will start in January 2011 as well. Wuqu’ Kawoq’s women’s healthcare clinics will provide STI testing and treatment, provision of contraception, and eventually HIV screening, as well as testing and treatment for cervical cancer.


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