Project #3477

Diabetes Care for Kaqchikel Maya

by Wuqu' Kawoq

Dear Friends, 

This is just a really quick note to let you know about two things. 

First, to tell you a quick story. The picture you are seeing here is of Dominga, one of our long-standing diabetes patients (she's given me permission to tell her story). Dominga has had diabetes for a long time, but she spent almost 10 years looking for a medical home before she found us. She has kidney problems as a result of her diabetes, and she has also had life-threatening foot infections. However, we've been able to help her through all of this, thanks to your help. This photo was taken just before a routine surgery for diabetes-induced cataracts. She's back home and seeing better than she has in 20 years. Thank you so much for making this program a possibility!

Second, I wanted to let you know that GlobalGiving is having a Matching Funds Campaign on June 12. Because we are a "Superstar" ranked organization, this means that all donations to any of our projects on June 12 will be matched 50%! You can see the list of all of our current projects here. Pass the link on to your friends and colleagues!

Thanks as always for your amazing support and interest in our work. 


Our Team
Our Team

Dear Friends, 

As the Medical Director of our organization, I've been completing the annual review of our diabetes program over the last few months. This has included visiting with most of the patients enrolled in the program to get their feedback, and it has also included observing our staff in their regular interactions with patients. All of this, of course, with the goal of ensuring that we are delivering the highest quality care to our patients, following our medical protocols, and continually looking for opportunities to improve. 

I've been very impressed, especially with the nurses and community health workers who do the bulk of the work and are responsible for keeping the program running. Compared to last year, control of blood sugar averages, high blood pressure, and kidney disease have all improved significantly. Patients who need intensive insulin therapy are being rapidly identified, and nursing staff are doing a great job teaching patients how to safely use insulin. 

From the patient side, things are also looking good. Morale is high. Attendance at regular health checkup is better than ever. Peer support among patients and families continues to grow. The diabetes clinic really does feel like a "community" of individuals working to help each other along. 

This year we'll continue to do all of this great work - and look for ways to expand it - and we'll need your support to keep going as always! Please consider giving to this amazing program this year. Together we are changing lives. 


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 if you have any questions!


Dear friends, one of the things that amazes me the most about Wuqu' Kawoq's diabetes staff and program is how adaptable and capable they are, and how committed to patient care. This was recently demonstrated to me by two recent cases from last month. 

Since we are largely a referral diabetes program, patients tend to come to us after having failed to achieve adequate treatment for their diabetes elsewhere. As such, most of the time our diabetic patients are really quite sick and require a lot of individualized attention. In fact, many of them end up coming to us because they've been turned away by other clinics that feel they are too advanced in their diabetes to be treatable. 

Recently, two patients had to start peritoneal dialysis, because their diabetes was so long-standing and had caused such damage to their kidneys. This would normally be an insurmountable barrier, both financially and logistically, for the average patient. However, our excellent social work staff guided both patients through the entire process, accompanying them to their medical visits, picking up medication prescriptions, and so on. Our excellent nursing staff taught the patients how to watch their diets, prevent infection, and manage their home dialysis sessions. Our excellent logistics staff made sure that each patient had an appropriate place in the home to initiate dialysis safely. 

All in all, the experience made me feel so proud to be part of this team, which is consistently transforming and elevating the quality of care offered to patients with this difficult disease. 

As always, none of this would be possible without your support and encouragement! We ask that you please consider us once again this holiday season in your giving. Don't forget that Global Giving will allow you to give a donation in honor of a loved one!


Talking about problems diabetics face in Guatemala
Talking about problems diabetics face in Guatemala

Dear friends,

More than anything, I attribute the success of our diabetes programs to our amazing staff - nurses and health promoters - who every day advocate for patients and make sure that they have all the resources necessary to live healthy lives.

Let me just tell you one story by way of example. Several months ago, we had two new patients come to our diabetic clinic with type 1 diabetes. This is unusual, because the vast majority (99%) of patients that we take care of have type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is the kind of diabetes that develops earlier in life and is much more difficult to control because it requires earlier and more frequent insulin injections. 

These two patients are young women, sisters, in their mid twenties, who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as teenagers. However, in the last 10 years since diagnosis, they had never found adequate treatment for their diabetes, mostly because other clinics were uncomfortable dealing with patients with the type 1 diagnosis or because the insulin treatments prescribed were too expensive. 

These barriers, however, were no big deal for our staff. First, since the medications we provide are free of charge (thanks to all of you and your generous support!), we were immediately able to manage that concern. Next, the staff leaped into action, providing intensive in-home nutritional counseling and lifestyle advice to the women over the next two months. They also provided the women with blood sugar testing supplies (again, thanks to your generous support!), which allowed for intensive monitoring and rapid adjustment of insulin doses. The result: after three months, both women have blood sugars that are nearly normal, and they feel better than they have ever felt in the last decade! By controlling their diabetes, we are able not only to make them feel better but also prevent long term damage to their eyes, nerves, and kidneys.  

Recently, some of our staff and patients had the opportunity to host a group of international visitors (see the pictures below). The visitors had the opportunity to learn about the challenges of treating diabetes in Guatemala and how Wuqu' Kawoq is attempting to take care of this problem, one patient at a time!

Visitors chat with diabetes patients and staff
Visitors chat with diabetes patients and staff



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Organization Information

Wuqu' Kawoq

Location: Bethel, VT - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Anne Kraemer Diaz
Bethel, VT United States

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