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 28, 2013

Nutrition Classes Up and Running!

A central part of the community-based nutritional education that we are doing this year are classes on nutrition for women with young children. The idea is to provide women with up-to-date nutritional information, and to give them a forum to ask questions, clarify misconceptions, and support each other’s efforts to improve the health of their families.

WK core staff and I have spent much of the last three weeks meeting with community liaisons in the 8 communities in which we will be rolling out these classes. Because stunting (being very short for one’s age) affects as much as 100% of children in some of the communities that we are beginning to work with, many women are very excited to learn more about what they can do to help their children grow to their potential.

Last week, we inaugurated this limb of the nutrition education program with our first class in in one of our partner communities. Twenty-two women, from first-time mothers to seasoned grandmothers, laughed along as our staff led them through an explanation of how microbes cause disease, correct hand washing technique, the best way to store food without refrigeration, and low-cost methods to purify water.

Although there are many organizations in Guatemala that are working on nutrition, one unique aspect of our program is that whenever possible we use the first language of the community in our programming. The women in this community, for example, speak a mixture of Kaqchikel and K’iche. Our staff gave this class in Kaqchikel, and the women participated in either Kaqchikel or K’iche (or both!). Many women emphasized how much they appreciated being able to take part in a class where they could speak comfortably in their own language. Doing these classes in first languages meant that all women–not just the ones that felt the most comfortable speaking Spanish–were able to understand the materials and offer their own questions and ideas to the group.

We are looking forward to being able to bring these women classes in maternal nutrition, breastfeeding, complementary feeding, and nutrient deficiencies in the months to come!

Links:

Jan 28, 2013

New publication on Diabetes Care in Guatemala

Dear friends, 

We are very excited about plans for our diabetes programing in 2013. We've just hired some new staff to expand our capacity. This has become very important lately, as our panel of diabetic patients has continued to grow. In particular, we are now managing a core group of patients with very long-standing diabetes who are dealing with some significant diabetes-related complications, such as kidney failure. Intensive management of these complex patients, requires dedicated and competent local staff, and so the new hires are a first step towards addressing these new needs. 

In addition, we are happy to report that the result of some of our work with diabetics in Guatemala have just been published here and is available for reading free of charge. This study was conducted by some of our medical students and volunteers, who examined health patterns in our diabetic panel, with the goal of helping us improve our programming. Already, the results are having an impact on our plans for the year. For example, the study found that lack of strong family supports is a big factor in adherence to medication regimens and diabetic diets, and so we are putting more home visits and other similar supports in place for our patients this year. Similarly, the study demonstrated very high rates of obesity in our population, much higher than we had anticipated, and so we are thinking hard about what we can do to incorporate a more focused approach to weight loss and exercise into our patient education this year. 

As always, thanks so much for your support, and don't hesitate to write me at peter@wuqukawoq.org if you have any questions!

Links:

Jan 28, 2013

Happy new year!

Dear friends, 

In my last report I gave you some updates on our plans for 2013. I'm happy to announce that things are moving forward at a steady pace. 

As I let you know in October, a major goal for this project in 2013 will be to expand on our already successful sexual health trainings for women in our partner communities. At the same time, we are also looking at ways to improve our coverage of women's medical care. In our partner communities, we've always provided access to family planning methods, prenatal care, and screening and treatment for cervical cancer. However, the goal for this year is to increase the demand for those services significantly. 

To help with this, we've brought on new staff members and new volunteers, including educational specialists and health promoters. We had our first planning meets for the year at the beginning of January, and the enthusiasm and energy on the team is very encouraging! 

I'm returning to Guatemala next week to do more staff training and also to plan specific activities for the first half of the year. I'll keep you updated, and I hope to have some new pictures soon! 

In the meantime, thanks as always for your support!

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