Guatemala Reflection

Saturday, July 28th, Blog By Heidi Stecher, Guatemala: Health Services Delivery in Resource- Poor Settings Program.


Today we are in Guatemala City, our first full day here.  We traveled to Dr. Jennifer Hoock’s home, in Santiago, about an hour bus ride from our hotel, Barcelo in Guatemala City.  (Barcelo is a higher end hotel, which I was pleasantly surprised to experience). Dr. Jennifer’s home is the main outpost for Guatemala Village Health.  This is where she has trainings for local Guatemalans and volunteers from the United States. Aldeas Sanas is the partner organization of GVH. Samwel, our driver and English-Spanish interpreter is the director of Aldeas Sanas. He is the man on the ground in Guatemala for GVH.  Surrounding the training center outside are stations where GVH teaches and trains people on better living practices. The stations include a permaculture garden, a carpentry studio, a safer housing structure for villagers and a latrine utilizing sawdust for cleaner sanitation.

After being introduced to the center, we began unpacking our medical supplies and then repacking our medications into various categories. Some students worked on their projects, while others organized for our first mock clinic at the training center. We divided into the following sections for our clinic: registration, vitals, lab, triage, provider, and pharmacy.  The Guatemalans oversaw registration, and the rest of us were at the other stations. Our provider is Sukhi, a physician from Illinois, who also brought her son to volunteer, Suryabir, who is studying genetics in college. We also have Sam, a high school student with us translating Spanish to English for Sukhi. The leaders of GVH who are with us are Dr. Jennifer Hoock and Carolyn.  Carolyn speaks English and Spanish and is one of our primary interpreters.

I have to say the mock clinic was insightful to how our team will work.  Having at least 30-40 Guatemalans show up and move through the clinic was a big task, but I felt we did very well and communication between the team members was smoother than I anticipated. However, it ran a long time, but as to be expected since this was our first time. We were able to “tryout” our Sexually Transmitted Infections survey and realized that it was too sensitive of information to bring forth by someone outside the culture. It seemed to work well if Juanita, the Guatemalan nurse or Lesbia, the health promoter asked the questions in a secluded area. So, we hope to give this a try with our subsequent clinics.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *