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 19, 2010

Overcoming the Hopeless of Diabetes Management

“If you have money you can get treatment, if not the best thing to do is die.” Arminia explained her hopelessness in battling diabetes. Diabetics in the rural communities of Guatemala express similar hopelessness with the severity of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Collaborative research on these perspectives associated with diabetes was recently conducted in multiple rural communities within Guatemala by Wuqu’ Kawoq staff. Along with the primary treatment costs of diabetes, the long-term  conditions and complications resulting from poor management of this disease compound the economic burden. Wuqu' Kawoq recognizes this economic burden can weigh heavier on those residing in the rural communities. All health services are therefore maintained without any costs to the patients. The hopelessness of the diabetic patients  has been directly lessened by the presence of Wuqu' Kawoq. Arminia now states, “Without the Wuqu' Kawoq physician, I would have let my life end.”

Aside from the economic burdens associated with chronic illness, “Diabetes is a social disease.” The debilitating effects of this chronic illness can threaten a person’s employment and thus the overall well-being of an entire family. Furthermore, adherence to treatment is not only dependent on the individual patient but also their family and social groups. Knowledge of diabetes varies greatly and is affected by medical pluralism, which is the often contradictory medical advice stemming from various sources such as pharmacists, natural healers, market vendors, nurses, family members, friends, and casual acquaintances. One patient Abraham explained his predicament in receiving various advice, “With diabetes I was alone and didn't know where to go, and I couldn't know because so many people were giving me advice.” His son recommended seeking treatment through Wuqu' Kawoq. With consults conducted in his primary Mayan language, a greater level of trust was created which helped to overcome the confusion created by multiple outside sources.

Wuqu Kawoq' is extending the availability of high-quality medical services and diabetes educational and support groups. Partnering with the Institution of Nutrition in Central America and Panama (INCAP) and APRECOR (Guatemalan Organization for Prevention of Heart Disease), Wuqu' Kawoq is implementing these high-quality services in the rural communities of Guatemala. In the coming year, medication and diagnostic supplies are being expanded, educational and support groups developed, and culturally appropriate educational materials provided. The social implications and immediate biomedical aspects of diabetes mellitus are inseparable and Wuqu' Kawoq therefore implements programs designed to address all of these obstacles to chronic illness management.

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Oct 1, 2010

Fundraising for October!

Dear Friends,

The last few weeks we have been preparing for ramping up several new aspects of our midwifery-women's health programs.

In particular, we have had the opportunity to meet with a number of talented, motivated young women who are interested in expanding from a more narrow focus just on midwifery to a broader human rights/sexual rights context. This is an important move and a broadening of the project's vision toward greater impact.

In the next several months, we plan to begin to offer expanded educational offerings targeted at sexually transmitted disease, STI, contraception, and sexual rights. We will couple this to free of charge screenings for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases as well as access to contraceptive methods.

All of this, of course, in addition to our continued support of prenatal care and midwive education. Truly, a comprehensive vision for improving the health of women in our communities!

We have dedicated the month of October to fundraising for these initiatives. We hope you will join in and support these efforts!

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Aug 23, 2010

New directions in women's health.

Dear friends,

It is an exciting and important time to be working with midwives in Guatemala to improve the health of indigenous women!

In addition to the great work being done now by the midwifery cooperatives in Tecpán and Comalapa, this year we have begun working with midwifes and women in Santiago Sacatepéquez as well. This community is quite different from the other two, in that, although also a Kaqchikel-speaking town, it is close to the capital city and substantially more urbanized.

In the initial interest groups that we held in Santiago, we were pleasantly suprised to discover that the primary interest there was in a curriculum more strongly focused on women's rights, HIV and sexual transmitted infection prevention, and family planning. This is an area that we ourselves are actively trying to expand, and so we feel the time is right to collaborate!

We have spent several months thinking about these themes and working on these aspects of our curriculum. In the fall of this year, and into next year, we will be providing new training sessions on these themes to midwives and, what's more, collaborating with them to provide HIV and sexually transmitted infection screening and family planning counseling to their patients.

We hope that you will be as excited by this new initiative as we are, and that you will partner with us as we fundraise and work to make these ideas a reality.

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