We are HALF WAY to our GlobalGiving project goal, and we want to thank you for your donations and especially those who commit to remembering Partner for Surgery each month. Every single dollar donated has a direct impact, and we couldn’t provide medical missions without you.
Here’s what’s happened since we last got in touch
March in the United States is National Nutrition Month, and basic nutrition is a life or death matter for the more than 20,000 Guatemalan babies born with cleft lip/palate each year. Infants born with this condition makes breastfeeding nearly impossible and with families unable to afford the formula, the results are tragic. Read how our Targeted Infant Nutrition Program (TINP) helps babies thrive.
Here’s how you were crucial to helping these children
Your donation of $25 gave a stressed mother a breast pump and a special nursing bottle to feed her baby.
Those who donated $35 provided one infant suffering from a cleft lip or palate a full month’s of nutrition.
Babies who could have their cleft lip/palate corrected by Partner for Surgery medical missions don't because their mothers can't afford to accompany them. Your donation of $50 paid for the lodging of a family awaiting surgery.
Through this unique program, we accomplish four major goals by preventing:
Here’s how you changed Delia's life
Delia's cleft lip, palate, and resulting speech impediment left her so ashamed by her appearance and exhausted from the bullying, that she dropped out of school. Please remember our missions not only provide medical treatment, but we provide children like Delia with a future they didn't think was possible.
Here's how you impacted the lives of rural Guatemalan women
In March, we also celebrated International Women’s Day, and in addition to positively impacting Delia’s life, your donations led to the screening of 2,994 women in rural Guatemala for cervical cancer in just the last year.
Of those women, 75 received life-saving treatment, and 730 women were evaluated for breast cancer.
These treatments are direct impacts from your donations!
Here’s what’s happening next
Next month, from April 9th to 13th, GlobalGiving is running their Little by Little matching donation campaign. GlobalGiving will match donations up to $50 at 50% while the $50,000 in matching funds remain. Help us spread the word! Please invite your friends to follow Partner for Surgery on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so we can share positive stories and smiling faces.
We can’t thank you enough, but luckily for us, this smiling face is going to give us a hand.
In our last update, we introduced you to Keila, a nine-year-old who received surgery at a hospital when she was three but didn't receive the proper follow up. With teeth growing and coming out through her upper lip, Keila needed further surgical intervention.
We are happy to report that Keila no longer has to worry about other kids making fun of her. Thanks to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia team, she received all the medical attention she needed, including the very important post-op follow up.
Children in numbers
By December 2017, we:
From all cleft patients identified, only 20 only needed lip surgery, and 8 only needed palate, while the remaining patients needed both.
Our work in Guatemala is non-stop and numbers change in a matter of days/weeks.
Further efforts for the Cleft Infant Nutrition Program
Feeding a cleft infant can be very tricky and can result in malnourishment at very early ages, which can even prevent children from undergoing surgery.
To prevent such scenario, the Cleft Infant Nutrition Program was created to early detect babies with a cleft lip and/or palate and provide them with all the nutritional support needed prior to surgery. Mothers receive instructions on how to feed their babies, along with manual breast pumps or formula.
Manual breast pumps are the most cost-effective options, with each pump costing roughly $30, while formula can cost as much as $600 per child and should only be used in special cases. In light of this information, we created an Amazon wish list giving donors the option to send us the pumps directly, to which we received a positive and ongoing response.
What volunteer teams have to say
We are grateful to all the teams that changed the lives of children in Guatemala in 2017: Medical Mission for Children, The Children Hospital of Philadelphia/University of Pennsylvania (Smiles for Guatemala), Faces of Hope, Health for Humanity.
Don Heebner, who helped the Philadelphia team get started, left us with the following quote:
"Our entire team was grateful for the unique experience, and the opportunity to help the children of Guatemala. As a veteran of ten cleft lip and palate missions I was especially impressed with the high level of organization and support by the entire ACPC team. Their cheerful dedication to the children and the mission made this mission memorable and personally rewarding."
All the work we do in Guatemala would not be possible without so many wonderful volunteers and the continuous generosity of our donors. The efforts of so many people to positively make an impact on the lives of Guatemalans is a truly beautiful thing to witness.
As 2018 begins, we would like to look back at 2017 and be grateful for every achievement that was made possible through the generosity of our donors and the support of our volunteers.
In 2017, we:
A special focus on women
Cervical and breast cancer are two of the greatest causes of suffering and loss among poor rural families in Guatemala. Cervical cancer ranks as the most frequent type of cancer, while breast cancer comes in second among women in Guatemala.
Partner for Surgery has been working closely with its Guatemalan counterpart, Asociación Compañero para Cirugía (ACPC), to reduce cervical and breast cancer morbidity and mortality by ensuring access to comprehensive and high-quality screening, follow-up, treatment, and education services.
Mobile medical missions
These missions, staffed by international medical volunteers and with ACPC staff and health promoters, provided health services to Guatemalans in the most remote areas of the country.
Trusted and appreciated in the villages, the ACPC staff and health promoters accompanied the medical professionals and helped with English/Spanish translations and/or indigenous dialects.
Patients identified in mobile medical missions, patients from the Cleft Infant Nutrition Program, and others identified by ACPC Health Promoters were scheduled to receive needed surgery from teams of volunteer medical professionals from Canada and the United States organized by PfS/ACPC and from groups organized by Hospital Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro.
Operations were performed at Hospital Niño Jesús and Hospital Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro in Antigua Guatemala.
PfS/ACPC staff coordinated the transportation, lodging, meals, laboratories, etc. of patients traveling for surgery. Each patient was always escorted by a health promoter who helped with translations to local dialects and who provided all the support needed during the surgical weeks and after.
What comes next
Above all, we want to continue helping change the lives of rural Guatemalans through medical care. We touched thousands of lives in 2017, and we can only hope to touch thousands more in the following months. From infant to elder, every individual should have the chance to make the most of their lives in good health, and if we have the opportunity to provide that, we will.
We wish you a wonderful new year.