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.
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.

Links:

Aug 11, 2010

Moving forward with diabetes care

Photo of a patient near his home.
Photo of a patient near his home.

“Poverty entered my house because of diabetes,” said Doña Dominga, a 55-year-old woman of Santiago Sacatepéquez. During a recent survey we conducted among our diabetic patients, Dominga related to us the story of her diagnosis and initial treatments with a series of health care providers, which drained her life savings without improving her health. Diabetes had debilitated Dominga to the point that she no longer had the strength to leave her house. A concerned friend mentioned that she ought to try Wuqu’ Kawoq’s diabetes program, through which, to Dominga’s surprise and relief, a Wuqu’ Kawoq physician visited her in her own home and spoke with her in her first language--Kaqchikel. After her first visit, she received regular follow-up consultations, medicines, blood tests, and one-on-one counseling with a nutritionist at no charge. “I trust in the doctor because he has a great love in his heart for us sick people,” she described her physician. “I am poor. There is so much poverty here. Without this help, I would have never gotten good medicine.”

Over the past few months, we have spoken with many patients like Dominga to evaluate our diabetes programs. We are pleased that many of our patients are happy with the care they are receiving and that many of them have their diabetes under control. However, we are constantly searching for ways to improve our projects. Earlier in the year, a team of Wuqu’ Kawoq physicians, nutritionists, and medical students started brainstorming about improving our diabetes educational classes. Fortuitously, at almost the same time, several of our collaborators--a midwives’ association and various community health promoters--approached us about the possibility of forming diabetes support groups. After two months of assessing our patients’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices about diabetes through surveys and interviews, we are beginning to develop plans for this diabetes curriculum. With the energy and enthusiasm of our community collaborators and patients, as well as the support of our donors, we are excited to move forward with this endeavor in the coming months.

We have gained many insights from this research so far. First, the family plays a significant role in patients' abilities to follow a diet, and few patients are aware that diabetes is often a hereditary condition. Therefore, nutritional education targeted at the families of diabetics will be beneficial. Second, many diabetics feel isolated and would like to hear about others' experiences with the disease. Furthermore, every single patient we have talked to has interpreted the onset of the disease as the result of stress, poverty, and poor mental health. We hope to coordinate support groups about these themes in the near future.

Links:

Jul 16, 2010

Updates on Relief Activities

Dear Friends, the last several months have been extremely busy, as we work hard to meet basic health and other needs of the many people affected by Tropical Storm Agatha. Here is just a short list of some of the things we have been doing, in terms of numbers.

Towns and villages where we have participated in relief efforts: 14.

Agatha-related water projects: 3.

Temporary shelters provided with medical supplies: 4.

Towns provided with counselling and psychological care: 5.

Towns provided with emergency medical care: 7.

Towns provided with emergency shipments of water or other water purification solutions: 5.

Engineering/infrastructural/rebuilding projects: 3.

New organizational collaborations: 22.

And that is not all! Activities are still ongoing, including medical care, psychological care, water projects, and infrastructural projects. This week, we are clearing water purification technology through customs which will provide clean water to another 20,000 people as they rebuild their water systems. We have multiple staff on the ground who are thinking about the long-term nutritional consequences of the disaster for families who had their crops destroyed.

Please continue to partner with us as we work to support affected communities. There will be many ongoing needs over the next year, and we will need your help to spread the word about our activities. Once again, thanks as always for your generosity, consideration, and care for the people of Guatemala.

Links:

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