Recognizing the enormous health care needs in the country, we work with the Guatemalan Order of Malta to ensure ongoing medical assistance is delivered to the Order’s network of approximately 250 health and social service institutions. With half of all Guatemalans lacking access to essential medicines, this aid is vital. In addition, we are supplying nutritional support for children.
Snapshot of Guatemala:
Decades of civil war have taken a toll on the country’s health care system and the economy. The country now suffers a high crime rate and more than half of all Guatemalans live in poverty. Critical health issues:
- More than half of all Guatemalan families live in poverty, with over 70% of indigenous families living below the national poverty line. Impoverished families with limited access to health care suffer needlessly from preventable and treatable diseases.
- Nearly 1/3 of pregnant women don't get the nutrition they need to have healthy babies, contributing to high infant mortality rates.
- Chronic malnutrition afflicts nearly half of Guatemala's children under five, increasing their risk of serious developmental delays and diseases.
- The high incidence of violent crime makes trauma and emergency services critical in public hospitals, which often face shortfalls of critical supplies and medications.
Since 1986, through our partnership with the Asociación Guatemalteca de Caballeros de la Orden de Malta (Guatemalan Order of Malta), AmeriCares has delivered nearly half a billion dollars worth of medical aid and humanitarian relief to hospitals, clinics, nutritional centers, medical outreach brigades, children's homes and homes for the elderly. The wide variety of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, diagnostics, medical devices and supplies, and nutritional supplements help healthcare providers better serve their patients.
In late 2012, the largest earthquake since 1976 struck the northern Pacific coast of the country affecting over 1.8 million people. An AmeriCares Global Pre-Positioning Initiative (GPI) grant allowed our in- country partner to provide relief supplies in the first 48 hours, and subsequent funding helped the partner obtain key medical equipment for a regional hospital damaged in the quake.
In 2011, major flooding displaced thousands of people limiting access to basic healthcare and creating a humanitarian crisis throughout the region. AmeriCares responded with emergency shipments and followed up with more deliveries of medical and humanitarian aid.
In 2005, Hurricane Stan's devastating impact on Guatemala prompted AmeriCares to immediately deliver essential medicines, first aid supplies and hygiene products.
AmeriCares also funded a post-emergency rehabilitation project in the hard hit area of Santiago Atitlán. This recovery project entailed vital community-based initiatives in healthcare worker training, stocking shelters with medicines and supplies, monitoring shelter water supplies and building the capacity of local health authorities to help community leaders plan for reconstruction.
AmeriCares also donates medical products to qualified U.S. health care professionals who are traveling to Guatemala to provide charitable medical care. Through this program, donated medicines and medical supplies reach impoverished and isolated communities where even basic medical care is inaccessible to the poor or often non-existent. AmeriCares donations cure infections, relieve pain, help patients manage chronic diseases and make life-changing surgeries possible.
Recent News from Guatemala
In Guatemala, a volunteer surgical team supported by AmeriCares Medical Outreach gives Felipe his sight back – one of 60 life-changing eye surgeries performed during their medical trip to provide critical health care to people in need.
Since 2010, AmeriCares has worked with TOMS to deliver new shoes to impoverished children in Guatemala and other countries around the world — including Uzbekistan, the Philippines, Armenia, and El Salvador.
Plagued by poverty and limited health care resources, Guatemala is a Central American nation with an alarmingly high disease burden:
Stamford, Conn. - Oct. 9, 2012 - Women’s networking group 85 Broads selected member Rebecca Desman to join AmeriCares on a whirlwind, 24-hour trip to Guatemala to see its aid programs firsthand during the annual AmeriCares Airlift Benefit on September 29, 2012
Stamford, Conn. - Oct. 4, 2012 - The recently crowned Miss India Connecticut, Ronita Choudhuri, traveled to Guatemala with AmeriCares this week to tour the humanitarian organization’s aid programs.
AmeriCares has mounted a large-scale response to crisis-level flooding caused in Central America with three air shipments of $6.5 million in medical aid and food support to help alleviate human suffering in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala
Amid rising concerns about outbreaks of water borne diseases and food shortages as a result of crisis-level flooding in Central America, AmeriCares is responding with targeted shipments of medical aid and nutritional supplements to help survivors in Nicaragua, El Salavador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Americares Medical Outreach Program provides key equipment donation to burn unit in Guatemala. Special surgical instrument allows critical treatment for young burn victims. Read More.
AmeriCares mounted disaster relief efforts to help sick and injured people affected by devastating floods and mudslides in Guatemala. Read more.
Tropical Storm Agatha has caused disastrous flooding and mudslides in Guatemala and El Salvador. Over 140 lives have been lost in the region and over 100,000 people have been left homeless. A massive sinkhole in Guatemala City killed at least one man, raising concerns that more sinkholes will follow.
In Guatemala, over 400,000 families are in desperate need of food due to drought and crop failure. President Colom has declared a national state of calamity. Read more.
AmeriCares honors Heart Month and delivered $170 million worth of lifesaving heart medicines and medical supplies to help stem this worldwide heart disease health crisis last year. In recognition of Heart Month, AmeriCares is sharing heart patient success stories from around the world.
AmeriCares is responding to the global food crisis by delivering nutritional supplements, vitamins and medicines to help those in vulnerable communities around the world.
In a year when forecasters are predicting an especially active hurricane season, AmeriCares has to be able to respond when the next storm strikes. We have been providing aid to people devastated by natural disasters such as hurricanes for 25 years.
It takes at least an hour from the nearest town, traveling on winding and rock-covered dirt roads to get to the health post in the village of Veramina, Guatemala. On this typical Thursday, a long line of pregnant women and toddlers wait patiently to be seen by the doctor-nurse team, who appear once every two weeks to examine patients and offer treatment. The government provides some medications, but it's not enough to treat malnutrition, respiratory ailments, diarrhea, and gynecological problems of the women and children that visit the health post. Thankfully, the doctors receive supplemental medicines donated by AmeriCares.