Nov 24, 2020

Fighting Hunger and Delivering Hope in Hard Times

Providing life saving supplies in rural Guatemala.
Providing life saving supplies in rural Guatemala.

With the economy and health system still struggling in the grasp of COVID, Guatemala is now moving into storm season. Hurricanes Iota and Eta have not only taken lives but also have wiped out crops and food reserves. So our nutrition program is more critical than ever.

Thanks to our supporters, we continue to scale up our efforts to fight hunger, delivering food and other essential supplies to the families most in need in our communities. Families like Doña Juana’s, who are doing their best to feed their children in their critical early years. The local health post had advised Doña Juana that her baby was dangerously small and underweight, but with her husband out of work due to COVID, the family had little other than tortillas to feed their son. Our community health workers supplied the family with a month of groceries, along with suggestions for accessing locally-grown herbs and vegetables.

These deliveries not only bring desperately needed sustenance; they also provide an important opportunity for us to connect with our patients and identify other health concerns that we can address.

We recognize that, particularly this year, there is enormous need around the globe, and that many of our supporters are experiencing their own hardships. For that reason, we are especially grateful to each of you for your generosity and partnership!

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Sep 17, 2020

Curbing Acute Malnutrition During COVID

Tomas is thriving
Tomas is thriving

Even before COVID-19, Guatemala had one of the highest rates of childhood stunting in the world. This challenge has exploded as the novel coronavirus has moved into the country. Government precautions--including shutting down public transportation, closing businesses, and enacting days-long curfews--have cut off income sources for many families. Data from the National Information System for Food Security and Nutrition showed that by early June, reports of children experiencing acute malnutrition had spiked to the rate of one every 30 minutes. Action Against Hunger found that the number of people in Guatemala needing emergency food aid doubled. 

In the face of these realities, we have stepped up our efforts to fight child malnutrition, delivering food and supplies to more than 1,000 families and continuing to provide guidance and care to maintain the gains we are making against malnutrition in Guatemala's most vulnerable communities. 

One example is young Tomás, who once was struggling to survive and now is thriving. When Tomás was two months old, his mother was having trouble producing breast milk, he was agitated during feedings, and he was severely underweight. Concerned, his parents reached out to Wuqu’ Kawoq, which had recently begun working in their community of Caserío Sucún in San Andrés Semetabaj, Sololá. 

We sent a community health worker, who consulted with the family to develop a plan to improve Tomás’ nutrition and health. The health worker advised the baby’s mother to drink plenty of water and to do her best to eat a diverse, healthy diet. She suggested the mother space out feedings so that she had enough breast milk and offered guidance on positions to help the  feedings go more smoothly. The Wuqu’ Kawoq team also provided formula and nutritional supplements for Tomás, along with regular monitoring. 

After nine months of working with Wuqu’ Kawoq, breastfeeding has improved, Tomás has reached a normal weight, and his mother has been supplementing his feedings with mashed fruits, vegetables, and beans. “Now he is heavy to hold in my arms," she laughs.

Delivering supplies to rural communities.
Delivering supplies to rural communities.
Counseling patients during COVID
Counseling patients during COVID
Working with mothers to help their children thrive
Working with mothers to help their children thrive
Tracking progress
Tracking progress

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May 22, 2020

Maya Health's COVID Response in Guatemala

The situation in Guatemala is changing fast. The number of COVID-19 cases has  increased having by the moment 2,265 confirmed cases , including 45 deaths, these numbers are from the last update of May 20th nationwide.

We are constantly making adjustments so we can continue to provide quality care in our communities. We continue providing telemedicine to thousands of our patients, and we are delivering food and medication to our patients even with the strict curfews and governmental restrictions on travel. We're working together with the Ministry of Health to make sure we are able to reach our patients who most desperately need care.

We’re making it possible for 320 doctors to return to their rural health posts. With COVID-19 advancing, these doctors, interns in their final year at the University of San Carlos, had been pulled from the field because they had no protective equipment. This left hundreds of rural clinics with no doctors. The University approached us for help, and thanks to one of our amazing donors, we will be providing the masks, gloves and other protective equipment required for them to return safely to their posts! They play an essential role in addressing malnutrition and chronic disease, along with responding to COVID-19. These doctors will be located in the poorest, most rural areas of Guatemala, which have been without medical staff for the last four weeks. 

We received funding from Miracles in Action for a joint communication and education campaign to get COVID-19 safety messages out via radio in Mayan languages across Guatemala to people who do not have internet access or phones. We’ll also be preparing messages related to domestic violence and other issues of particular concern during this time. We are working with many partner NGOs and institutions to make this possible.

We’re delivering 900  food aid baskets provided by United Way that will last a family of five for a month. These baskets couldn’t come at a more critical time. As businesses close and work becomes scarce, and all public transportation has been halted for weeks, a rising number of families are struggling to afford food. This will help us sustain the gains we have made in the fight against malnutrition.

As we face mounting challenges, we are so grateful for your ongoing support. Every single donation counts in the face of this enormous challenge.

 
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