HELP US HELP GUATEMALA
Organized by: Kate and Brooklyn
Kate and Brooklyn via Crowdrise
August 16, 2014
Recent cuts to health budgets in Guatemala are having a crippling effect on rural communities. The clinic of Santa Catarina is one of the many affected by these cuts. Brooklyn and myself are participating in a four-week volunteer program, working 4-5 hours per day in the clinic, helping out however we can. I am a registered nurse from Australia and Brooklyn is a pre-med student from America. During our time at the clinic we have witnessed firsthand the devastating effect that this lack of funding has caused. There has been no doctor for the past year; which leaves only one full-time and one part-time nurse to run the clinic with only minimal amounts of basic equipment available.
One example is a 10 year old boy who came in with a laceration to his hand from working with machinery, the clinic staff had to use equipment that was far too big for the size of the laceration, they were not able to numb the area due to a lack of local anesthetic, and there were no sterile drapes to keep the environment clean, therefore infection is highly likely. The clinic also provides essential pre and postnatal care to the ever increasing numbers of pregnant women, some as young as 12 years old. I heard a devastating story on my way to work recently; a women told me that her daughter and baby recently died during childbirth. Her daughter had not been receiving pre-natal care, as it wasn’t available to her. You can’t help but think that if it was available her daughter and baby may be alive today.
The clinic runs regular education talks on breast-feeding, nutrition, safe sex practices and general hygiene practices to reduce bacterial infections, parasite infestations and mosquito borne diseases such as dengue. Santa Catarina clinic also aims to provide essential immunization programs, including baby vaccinations, influenza vaccines and contraceptive injections. Recently a mother and her 2mth old baby had to be turned away as the vaccines required were not available; and it is not known when more funding for vaccines will become available.
Sadly these are not uncommon stories here in Guatemala, and they show how vital the care and support provided by Santa Catarina clinic is to the local population. With the clinic lacking the most basic of equipment and supplies I asked them to supply me with a list of the equipment they require:
- a projector for their education
- a play area for the children that come to the clinic
- an otoscope (for looking in patients ears)
- a Doppler for pre-natal examinations
- automatic blood pressure machine
- a water filter to put in the waiting room
- more supply of medicines (vaccinations, analgesics, crèmes, nebulizers, asthma puffers)
- tooth brushes for the children that come to the clinic
- sterile equipment for suturing
- more suture kits (different sizes)
- alcohol wipes and sterile water
- extension cords
- curtains for the clinic (they don’t have any)
- sheets for the examination beds
- and money for ongoing support for the clinic
So this is where YOU come in. Our aim is to be able to supply the clinic with all these necessary things and for this to be achievable we have set a target of $10,000. If we don’t happen to reach this target, any amount of money will be gratefully received by the clinic and I know will be put to great use. So please donate any amount of money you can, $1 or $1000, it doesn’t matter. Just take a moment to think about the way you spend your money, maybe you don’t need to go out for dinner this weekend or buy those new shoes or clothes. Just think about how far that money could go if put into the pockets of the Santa Catarina clinic.