Health care in Eastern Guatemala is inaccessible to most due to distance and inability to pay. Many die on a daily basis of curable illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia. Women and children are at highest risk due to the lack of prenatal and obstetric care. Women often die while giving birth at home, leaving children to care for children.
Government sponsored health posts in urban areas offer consults for free but do not provide medications or treatment, so seriously ill patients from rural mountain villages travel many miles on foot in extreme heat, only to be diagnosed and sent away empty handed for lack of ability to purchase medications. For this reason, they often forego medical care altogether, and die at home. Children frequently die of malnutrition related causes as parents lack the education to detect early warning signs and feel powerless to intervene due to lack of resources.
Outreach for World Hope has established a partnership with local government-sponsored health clinics to make medical care more accessible and effective. Severely malnourished children are identified by medical personnel at these clinics, and referred to OWH for sponsorship following inpatient nutritional rehabilitation. Patients with illnesses for which they cannot afford treatment are referred to the OWH ministry for the provision of medications and follow up care, rather than being turned away empty handed.
OWH sponsors the ongoing care of patients needing specialized services not available in eastern Guatemala. Patients needing surgery and patients suffering from AIDS, tuberculosis, diabetes and other chronic illnesses are transported to larger hospitals in Guatemala City, five hours away from their homes, in order to receive the appropriate care. Transportation, meals, and lodging are also provided.
OWH medical teams visit isolated mountain villages with no access to health care to treat entire populations for worms and parasites and to provide medical care to the sick. Donated medications such as broad range antibiotics save the lives of infected villagers for whom medical care is inaccessible. Malnourished children identified on these village visits are hospitalized and profiled for sponsorship.