Our Clinic serves the low-income, rural and indigenous population in Guatemala with free medical care. Every family who has received a From Houses to Homes house has free access to St Joseph’s Medical Clinic, as do the students and their families from our school. The clinic is located in Pastores, however it also helps people from surrounding towns. On average the clinic treats 300 patients a month, approximately 65% of these are women/girls. To date we have treated approximately 30,000 patients.
With roughly 15.5 million inhabitants, the Republic of Guatemala is the most populous nation in Central America (World Bank 2014). Guatemala spends the least amount of government resources per capita on health ($176 at PPP (Purchasing Power Parity)) than any country in the region (average of $436 at PPP). Guatemala's health sector is extremely underfunded and for this reason it relies heavily on nonprofit organizations like ours. Sadly, some of the most common health issues that are preventable diseases are often left untreated. Chronic malnutrition, cervical cancer, diabetes, maternal mortality and hypertension are some examples of these preventable diseases.
Our medical clinic not only has a general practitioner, but it also offers dental care and has a part time gynecologist. Every month between 5% and 15% of all appointments are with our gynecologist. St. Josephs health clinic offers general medical care, gynecology and dentistry.
Absenteeism is prevalent and poor performance increases as a result of inadequate health care. At our school our mission is to also offer the medical care needed to the Mothers and their children by giving them access to our broad range of primary healthcare services.
The beautifully constructed San José Medical Clinic was created in 2011 with the goal of helping individuals achieve high levels of health through outpatient care, preventative care and health education, all while respecting their cultural traditions. Dr. Ana Louisa Ortiz, General Practitioner and Dr. Velvet Lopez, Dentist, serve as the primary staff.
Our medical clinic has a part time gynecologist. We provide pap smears and for example cervical cancer care (Cervical cancer is the leading cause of death among Guatemalan women. In fact, less than half of Guatemalan women have ever been screened).
54% of Guatemala lives below the poverty line, and common necessities such as dental care are not accessible to those who need it the most. From a young age many have gum disease which is often caused by improper oral hygiene. Our medical clinic has a full time dentist
Our full-time counselor works mostly with women and children. We often have some very intense situations that range from violence to trauma, from sexual abuse to grief.
Growth and Development
We regularly evaluate and assist children in their first few years of life who display abnormalities in growth and/or development. We conduct weekly home visits, provide health education for mothers as well as the medical attention needed. At our school Kemna’oj, the growth and development clinic takes place every 3 months. We weigh and measure each child and monitor they growth as well as discuss and advise Mothers on nutrition or dental care for example.
We provide regular reproductive health education by organizing small group sessions. These are conducted at our school and this year we hope to also invite people from the local community to also attend. We sometimes do these sessions with just the girls. Every session is different and different topics are discussed.
From general sex education to sexual abuse, the aim is to help and educate girls and women. Guatemala has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Latin America. In 2014 a national organization recorded over 5000 forced pregnancies under 14 years old. For four out of five girls, their offender was a relative. It is important to us that women and girls are educated and seek help when needed.
Mother and Child
This program is all about educating and helping the Mother and their child/ children. We have small group sessions about hygiene and nutrition for example on a regular basis. The topics are often different, and we invite midwives, social workers and nurses to lead these sessions.