The Maternal Child Health Program celebrated Mother´s Day this month along with some exciting activities. We had a high turn-out at our educational seminars this month with a few of the fathers in attendance as well, one of them for the first time. The topic we presented at the May seminar included family planning methods: Depo-Provera, Cyclofem, and contraceptive pills. The women asked questions and participated in active discussions throughout the class.
After the meeting, we had packages of baby clothes and shoes to give out to the mothers, who were all very thankful to receive them. Additionally, a local dental intern provided complimentary fluoride treatments for each woman, a first time for many of them.
In the coming month, Pueblo a Pueblo will be welcoming a volunteer group of undergraduate students to Santiago, Atitlan. This group has raised enough money to purchase and install 10 Onil stoves for the mothers of our Maternal Child Health Program. In rural Guatemala, many women cook food for their families using fire pits that are placed on top of a dirt floor in their one-room house. The frequent exposure to open fire stoves in poorly ventilated areas leads to acute and chronic respiratory disease, lung malignancies, eye diseases, burns, low birth weight, and infant mortality. According to the World Health Organization, excessive smoke inhalation is the leading cause of death for children under five in Guatemala. The steel chimney that comes with each stove will be channel pollutants away from the house. Furthermore, the insulated cement stoves burn significantly less wood, which will help ease deforestation, while also saving money for each household.
In preparation for this project, one of the Pueblo a Pueblo volunteers, Abby Levin, has been going on home visits with our local health educator, Chonita Ramirez, to select the women to receive an Onil stove. Since we cannot provide stoves for everyone this time around, the criteria for receiving a stove is based on home ownership, level of participation in the program, and need (variables for this factor include: the lack of a current stove with chimney, proximity of open-fire stove to the bedroom of the family, number of people who use stove to gauge amount of smoke produced.) We look forward to partnering with more groups in the future to continue providing these valuable resources as they are much needed, and extremely appreciated.