Mar 27, 2019


WINGS Estimated Impact in 2018
WINGS Estimated Impact in 2018

2018 was a challenging year for Guatemala. Fuego Volcano forever changed the lives of thousands of families and the landscape near WINGS’ headquarters in Guatemala. Looking back, the months from June to October seem to have gone by in waves of emotions, ash-filled air, and an outpouring of generosity from around the world. While there was not a direct impact on the services we provide in other departments, our organization as a whole and Guatemala in general was deeply impacted by this tragedy. It brought our already close staff even closer together and revealed a strengthened commitment to serve vulnerable communities. WINGS raised over $78,000 to support the community’s response to the volcanic eruption.

Throughout the year, WINGS served a total of 23,171 individuals with contraceptive services and reproductive education. Our focus on rights-based, patient-centered care continued to guide every interaction and helped us build trust with our patients and community partners.

We formalized a partnership with Iniciativa Guatemala to provide oversight of a new Reproductive Health Project housed within their organization which is implemented in severely poverty-stricken, high-crime areas of Guatemala City. We provide capacity building training to key members of their staff and are replicating our youth program model at their school sites.

In November, our Executive Director Rodrigo Barillas and our field promotion supervisor Celeste Velásquez attended the 2018 International Conference on Family Planning in Kigali, Rwanda. Celeste was accepted as the only Guatemalan Youth Delegate representative and had the opportunity to present as part of a youth panel to international experts. WINGS’ work is being noticed on the international stage and we are so proud to share some highlights with you here.

Throughout 2018, WINGS delivered clinical reproductive health services through 2 mobile units, a network of more than 30 Volunteer Health Promoters, a stationary clinic in Antigua, and satellite clinics in Cobán and Sololá. Covering 11 departments (Guatemalan states), we attempt to fill in gaps in access to care, especially in hard-to-reach rural communities.

We are so very grateful for your continued support and partnership as we reach the unreachable with reproductive health education and services in Guatemala.

2018 WINGS Service Provision Results
2018 WINGS Service Provision Results
Mar 26, 2019



WINGS has provided 60,239 cervical cancer screenings since 2001. In 2018, we saw a 28% decrease in our cervical cancer screening service from 2017. This result was by design since we aimed for a decrease in the provision of both cervical cancer screenings and short-acting methods in response to both community needs and available funding. In the past, WINGS staff emphasized cervical cancer screenings in promotional talks and patient education. We saw large numbers of patients seeking us out exclusively for this screening to the point that it impeded our ability to attend those patients who needed contraceptives. Starting in 2017, we asked our staff to become more passive in their promotion of screening. Staff began educating patients who came for contraceptive methods about the benefits of cervical cancer screenings, but we did not publicly advertise this service. This shift in promotion of services combined with no longer organizing massive cervical cancer screening clinics with agricultural employers resulted in a decline in screenings provided.

Nearly a quarter of WINGS patients had their first cervical cancer screening with us last year and almost half saw us for a contraceptive method as well. WINGS offers cervical cancer screenings in all our clinics, either within our stationary clinic or our mobile unit clinics. We use visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) for immediate detection of cervical cell abnormalities and same-day treatment using cryotherapy for pre-cancerous cells that may lead to cervical cancer.

A trend that our nurses have begun to see is that the health posts and other health facilities managed by the Guatemalan Ministry of Health are increasingly more likely to have both trained staff and sufficient inventory to meet the needs of communities. WINGS always tries to fill in any gaps left and work closely with local health officials to plan coverage of rural areas.

In 2019, we aim to provide 2,000 VIA screenings, knowing that many communities are being covered by governmental resources. WINGS will be available and prepared to fill in gaps as our field staff notices any unmet needs. This work would simply not be possible without your help. You are truly helping us to save lives. ¡Gracias!

Dec 31, 2018

Circles of trust save lives

Nurse Alexia talks to patients in Alotenango
Nurse Alexia talks to patients in Alotenango

Here at WINGS, we hear incredible stories of how our services affect the lives of individual women and even their extended families. One of our favorite situations is when women come to us because a sister or aunt has referred them because they trust us to provide the highest quality of reproductive health care.

A few weeks ago, Fátima visited WINGS’ clinic at the hospital in Cobán (department of Alta Verapaz in northern Guatemala), where we offer reproductive health services every Wednesday. She made a 5-hour trip from El Estor (department of Izabal in eastern Guatemala) to get a cervical cancer screening.

Fátima told our nurse Carmencita that her aunt had been screened with WINGS and that the results showed cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) at stage III, the latest stage before developing into cancer. WINGS helped her get the necessary information to have surgery in Guatemala City.

Despite having access to health facilities nearby, Fátima preferred to visit WINGS because her aunt had a pap test at the local health center and the results were negative. However, it turned out to be an advanced precancerous condition when she got her results with WINGS. Unfortunately, a pap smear is more likely to show false negative results, which may have been the case of Fátima’s aunt.

After the aunt was cured, one of Fátima’s cousins decided to attend to a WINGS clinic and we discovered pre-cancerous cells. WINGS provided cryotherapy that same day and she is now fully recovered too.

These experiences encouraged Fátima to get screened. She was so satisfied with WINGS’ services, she brought her mother the following week. Both of them had a negative result. Fátima told WINGS how thankful she was for our work, as we had saved the lives of two of her relatives. She also mentioned that getting screened had given Fátima and her mother peace of mind regarding their sexual health.

Thank you for supporting our cervical cancer program. Early detection can save lives like Fátima’s family’s.

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