Physician assistant students and licensed clinicians have been traveling to the region of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala since 2015 to provide medical support and health care to members of a unique indigenous community. The patient population in this region includes descendants from a Mayan culture called the Poqomchi'. They live in remote villages spread out among the mountain ranges here that require hiking to and from their communities each day in order to reach them to set up rural clinics annually. Otherwise, they have limited access to basic medical care. Our group is able to see and treat approximately 500 patients in just one week. Patients range in age from newborn to geriatric. We are committed to implementing sustainable projects in addition to our annual mission trip, including our newest project of building a multi-specialty medical & surgical clinic to support this patient population throughout the year.
In order to integrate with the Poqomchi' communities, we work with local Guatemalan service organizations dedicated to allocating resources both locally and internationally to provide support for their people. We could not do what we do without support from Living to Serve (AVIS) and Mision Vida Nueva. In addition to medical care, we are committed to providing sustainable solutions to ultimately prevent the medical conditions we see and treat each year. With the help of AVIS, we are able to do this by installing wood-burning stoves that divert smoke outside of the families' homes and durable water filtration systems to decrease the amount of waterborne-pathogen-associated ailments.
AVIS and Mision Vida Nueva are also committed to investing in the people they serve. AVIS sponsors a scholarship program to local, bright students to provide them with the means to continue their education. Unfortunately, most children in this region do not achieve an education level higher than the 6th grade. AVIS is working diligently to empower the children of this region with the most valuable currency: education. Mision Vida Nueva started a local orphanage called Casa Gloria that provides shelter to children from dire situations with little to no support to ensure they grow up with enriched lives to become productive members of the local San Cristobal community. Click on "The Team" tab for more information about these organizations.
Our biggest project we are currently embarking on with our partners in Guatemala is building a multi-specialty medical and surgical clinic in the Alta Verapaz region to support these patients throughout the year when volunteer groups are not present. The clinic will provide a more sustainable healthcare system for patient's whether they need basic primary care, obstetric care, surgery, or acute care. Existing hospitals in this area have very limited resources and struggle to care for the volume of patients that walk through their doors each day. This is a developing project that we are excited to share updates on as we continue to make progress! If you are interested in donating to support our clinic, please follow the prompts on the "Donate" tab. Our initial goal for construction was $450,000, and we are joyful to annouce that we have reached that goal. We anticipate inflation costs to adjust this initial budget, and are asking for donations to supply the clinic with needed medical equipment once construction is complete (goal completion date 2023-2024). We appreciate any and all support, thank you!