Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty

by WINGS
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Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty

Project Report | Mar 16, 2016
How Family Planning Can Break the Cycle of Poverty

By Shaili Zappa | Development Assistant

A young mother during a WINGS family planning talk
A young mother during a WINGS family planning talk

Guatemala is often known for its beautiful landscapes, travel spots, and rich Mayan history. However, Guatemala is also known for its struggles as a developing country, especially for its extremely high poverty rates. Seventy five percent of the indigenous population in Guatemala lives in poverty. Those who live in extreme poverty in this country live on $2 a day. Along with poverty, malnutrition is widespread. One in every two children under 5 years old is chronically malnourished. This makes Guatemala the country with the highest malnutrition rate in Latin America and the Caribbean, and fourth highest in the world.  Chronic malnutrition occurs over time and affects children cognitively, socially, and physically. Chronically malnourished children are very short for their age and their learning capabilities are lower than those of a healthy child. The first 1000 days of a child’s life are crucial in establishing good nutrition because after that, the effects of chronic malnutrition are irreversible.

But what do poverty and malnutrition have to do with family planning? Well, if a family has access to reproductive health services, they will get to choose how many children they have. They will most likely have fewer children than families who do not have access to family planning services. A family with fewer children will be more likely to meet the needs of each child financially. On the other hand, parents who have 11 children, for example, will find it far more challenging to properly feed them all. Many large families in this country do not have enough resources to pay for food, hence their children quickly become malnourished, and so the cycle goes on. To make matters worse, in Guatemala there is nearly a 30% unmet need for family planning. For indigenous women, it is even more challenging; 1 in 3 indigenous women have no access to health and family planning services. The average Guatemalan woman’s ideal number of children is 2, but they have 3.8 on average and 4.6 in indigenous communities. This makes Guatemala the country with the highest fertility rate in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Ana is from San Pablo la Laguna. At 46 years of age, she has been pregnant eight times and currently has five children. Ana is chronically malnourished and weighs less than 100 pounds; her body is not fit for pregnancy, resulting in three pregnancies ending in miscarriage.  Ana came to a WINGS clinic held at a partnering hospital in Santiago, extremely pale and clearly anemic. She had never used a contraceptive method before, simply because she could not afford one. Ana came to the hospital in hopes of getting a tubal ligation, even though she had no way of paying for it. Unquestionably, our staff was prepared to waive the operation costs so that Ana could receive the method of her choice. Because her health was quite unstable, it was a very delicate procedure, but Ana’s operation was successful. Even though our medical staff recommended that she stay in the hospital that night, Ana had no one to look after her children, so she went back to her village. WINGS’ staff is still in regular contact with Ana, to make sure that her health is better than the first time we saw her. Ana is now able to focus more on her own health and the health of her family, without being concerned about future unintended pregnancies.

Family planning positively impacts Guatemalans by enabling them to take ownership of their reproductive lives, providing them a path out of the cycle of poverty and malnutrition. Just in 2015, we provided reproductive health education, contraceptive methods, and family planning services to more than 21,310 people in Guatemala. Through WINGS stationary and partner clinics, we performed six times the number of tubal ligations and vasectomies projected for 2015. In the first three months of 2016, we have already provided family planning services to 3221people in Guatemala.  

It is through the support of donors like yourself that we can provide family planning services in Guatemala, to break the cycle of poverty and malnutrition. Thank you so much for your continued support and for standing with WINGS in bringing reproductive health services to the most vulnerable in Guatemala. 

Discussing the importance of family planning
Discussing the importance of family planning
Providing contraceptive methods in rural Guatemala
Providing contraceptive methods in rural Guatemala
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Dec 18, 2015
Reaching the Most Vulnerable

By Shilpa Kothari | Program Director

Sep 29, 2015
Men Breaking Down Barriers to Reproductive Health

By Sally Parmelee | Development Coordinator

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Organization Information

WINGS

Location: Antigua, Sacatepequez - Guatemala
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WINGSGUATEMALA
Project Leader:
Kirsten Taylor
Development Director
Antigua , Sacatepequez Guatemala
$112,731 raised of $150,000 goal
 
1,917 donations
$37,269 to go
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