Since our last update to you, the team at Mayanza has been very busy including taking our biggest group of volunteers to Santiago in February. We accomplished many important things while in-country. Here are a few of the highlights.
We continued our school clinic, where we provide fluoride varnish, oral health screening and supplies, measure height and weight, check hemoglobin levels for anemia and administer a dose of anti-parasite medication. This trip we saw our highest number so far - 601 children over 4 schools! We have analyzed the hemoglobin data over time and continue to see a significant improvement in the decreasing level of anemia over time.
We were so proud to graduate our first group of women from the year-long Diabetes Prevention Through Lifestyle Modification curriculum! These women formed a support group through exercise and learning about nutrition, stress managment and goal setting. We also held an orientation session for the new group and collected data both pre and post intervention to evaluate our program.
After careful planning by our team of physician assistants, we implemented the first Family Health Fair at each of the four schools. We educated the community of the schools in nutrition including portion control and culturally competent healthy substitutions, ways to exercise at home, diabetes prevention, dental hygiene and hand washing. We also screened the participants for anemia, measured their height and weight, adminstered anti-parasite medication and daily multivitamins. And for the first time, we partnered with local organizations including Hospitalito Atitlan, Saving Mothers, Pueblo a Pueblo and Tui'k Ruch' Lew that provided education in mental health, women's reporductive health and contraception, nutrition and water filtration and clean burning stoves. Overall, we saw 366 people from the community who received education from each station and were given toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap.
Finally, at the health fair, we conducted a health related needs assessment. It provided a number of insights of this community and will help us target our programs to the areas that are most needed.
Changes in Reponse to COVID-19
Since the arrival of COVID, the leadership team has pivoted our focus and we are now raising funds for 2 areas of focus. The country has been locked down since March 12 and families who were barely surviving are now without food. Now, we are raising funds to help combat the high rate of malnutrition and have partnered with an organization who can deliver a hot meal for $1USD. In addition, although Santiago does not have the capacity to manage patients with COVID-19, the virus have arrived in the community and the first responders must transport patients to referral centers. We are working with community members to acquire and manufacture medical supplies like gloves, face shields, plastic protective suits and hand sanitizer for distribution to first responders including firefighters, EMTs and medical professionals.
As you can imagine, your help is incredibly needed during this time! Your money goes further in Guatemala and can make a huge impact on the need in this community! Thank you for your generosity in the past and please consider a donation at this time to help protect the first responders and impact the devastating effects of malnutrition on this community.
We are excited to report that we will be returning to Santiago in February with our largest group yet! We will have physician assistants, nurses, physician assistant and public health students and many non-medical volunteers on our team. We will see the children in the schools and provide a physical examination, dental screening exam, apply fluoride varnish and anti-parasite medication, measure their growth over the past six months and check for anemia. Since we expect to see over 500 children, every volunteer is needed!
New this year - we are supporting a community health fair for the parents and siblings of the school children that we see. We will offer educational material and supplies focusing on dental health, nutrition, mental health, anemia prevention, diabetes, exercise and child development. In addition, we have partnered with a number of local not-for-profit organizations within the community and are grateful for this opportunity for collaboration. We are expecting over 500 people to attend this event unique to this community.
We will also end our inaugural diabetes prevention program for women with a celebration and welcome a new group of women into this important education program supported by Mayanza. We are looking forward to networking and receiving updates from our many partners on the ground in Santiago.
Thank you so much for your support. We could not make this impact on the health of so many children and their families without your help! We look forward to sharing our success with you when we return in February!
As I am enjoying the falling colorful leaves and softening light in the northeastern US, my thoughts are focused on the work that is needed to prepare for the team from Mayanza to return to Santiago Atitlan in February. On the to-do-list is a number of things including selecting, ordering, and packing supplies to provide oral health screening and dental varnish, anemia screening and treatment and a dose of anti-parasite medication to over 500 children in four schools. We are also making preparations for celebrating the conclusion of our first year of the diabetes lifestyle modification program for women and recruiting another class that will being in February. And in between trips is the time for the important analysis of data collected in the evaluation of our programs to better understand what is working and areas that we can improve.
In addition, we are celebrating being awarded a grant from the PA Foundation in June to expand our anemia prevention and treatment program to the families of the children that we see. I traveled to Guatemala in October to meet with school administrators and a number of community organizations to solicit feedback on a plan to expand our services in the community. It was such an important week to connect with our friends and colleagues in Santiago and to create new collaborations. As a result, we are excited to offer a Family Health Fair in February at each of the four schools we partner with. We will expand our oral health program, anemia prevention and treatment program focusing on women of childbearning age and young children and provide education about lifestyle modification for prevention of chronic diseases to the families of the children we serve.
Mayanza is an all volunteer organization with 100% of donations directly used to improve the health of the community of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. Our team is comprised of an interprofessional team of physician assistants, nurses, physician assistant, medical, dental and public health students and non-medical volunteers who donate their time and expertise to improving the health of school children in this community.
In a few weeks Giving Tuesday will be upon us. Please help us to continue our work in Santiago and make a donation on December 3rd - Giving Tuesday! Without your support, we could not provide this much needed care to this community.
Mayanza has recently returned from our July trip to Santiago and we have many successes to share with you! This trip was exciting for a number of reasons: we strengthened partnerships with local stakeholders, collected feedback on our programs from the people that we serve and continued our current interventions in the schools.
We had an amazing team of 14 volunteers who gave their time, money and endless energies to our project. We made an impact on this community that touched each of our team members in ways that they will carry with them in the future.
The team saw ~500 children on this trip and have seen a significant improvement in the level of anemia and dental caries in this community. Our team also had a number of meetings this week including with teachers from the schools, the community health educator, physical education teacher, and local dentist. We worked with each of these team members to strengthen our partnerships and commitment to this community.
With support from Soles4Souls and a nccPA Health Foundation grant, we evaluated the Diabetes Lifestyle Modification Program aimed at reducing the devastating effects of diabetes mellitus on the women and families of this community. We have partnered with a local community health educator, Lola and a physical education teacher, Febe to provide the instruction and support in the areas of goal setting, healthy eating, exercise instruction and stress management for 10 Mayan women at risk for diabetes. We will return in six months to check their progress toward their personal goals for wellness.
Thank you very much for your support for this project. We hope that we can continue to count on you to help us provide these services for the children and families of Santiago.
Please continue supporting our “Little by Little campaign” where your donations will be matched.
Happy spring! Here at Mayanza, we are busy preparing to return to Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala in July. We are excited to work with the families of the school communitiies of 4 schools that we partner with. We plan to see approximately 600 children and provide a variety of services to improve the health of these children.
Every six months we return to provide dental screening, fluoride varnish, and anti-worming medications, as well as measuring growth and supporting our health educator, Lola. Every child that we see gets their very own toothbrush, toothpaste and soap.
In February, we piloted two new programs, Women's Diabetes Lifestyle Modification Program and Oral Health Treatment for the Children of Santiago. We are looking forward to talking to the participants of these programs for feedback.
Please consider supporting our return trip in July! Every donation goes directly toward our work in Guatemala and improving the health of the school communities that we serve.
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