Reducing chronic malnutrition among children in Guatemala
46.5% of children in Guatemala under the age of five are chronically malnourished. This is the insufficient intake of food or food components that the body needs to live, or the inability of the body to absorb or process the food. Malnutrition begins in the womb, continues through the early years, and affects the child’s physical and cognitive development.
Together with our partner FUNDAP, we aim to treat more than 400 pregnant women and 2,000 children over the next four years and provide them with the necessary vitamins and proteins or nutritional supplements.
The SALUD (Health) Program
The public health system in Guatemala consists of three levels: hospitals (3% of the GP), health stations, health centers and clinics (23% of the GP) and prevention (74% of the GP). Especially in remote rural areas, health care is very precarious. Lack of financial resources, cultural aspects (esp. among the indigenous population), and fears lead people to seek medical attention only when it is too late.
In southwestern Guatemala, our partner FUNDAP runs a training program for volunteer women health promoters, in addition to four day clinics and a nurse school, and contributes to improving health care for the indigenous population.
Health promoters – a network of volunteer family angels.
After the one-year training, they become the first point of contact for health issues in their villages. They provide first aid, accompany women during pregnancy, recognize symptoms of illness such as malnutrition in children and refer to a day clinic if necessary. In this case, and after a treatment and nutrition plan has been drawn up by the doctor, the health promoters regularly visit the families, help them to implement the treatment plan and train them in hygiene and nutrition issues. As part of the project, 2,000 health promoters will be trained with a focus on nutrition.
Our local partner
FUNDAP has been working in western Guatemala since 1981 with the goal of fighting poverty and inequality in Guatemala. Through its health programs, FUNDAP reaches approximately 20,000 people annually, providing them with access to basic health care.