Most of the endemic problems related to poverty in the jungle villages are related to lack of education and resources. Health education is a good starting point, as students need to be taught how to use a toothbrush because many don’t even have one! Proper sanitation is also taught, including measures to deter the spread of parasites, washing hands, wearing shoes, and drinking only clean water. Nutritional education is also taught, although chronic malnutrition is rampant because of low protein diets caused by the lack of available high-protein containing foods.
We train midwives in prenatal care and deliveries using international midwife materials. Midwives from the US hold training classes in conjunction with the Ministry of Health to provide delivery instruction to the midwives. We teach recognition of emergencies, especially post-partum hemorrhage, as well as crisis management. We teach importance of clean birth and provide delivery kits to use with each patient. The kits contain clean paper delivery sheets, soap, gloves, umbilical ties with a scalpel blade, suction bulbs and a towel to dry the baby.
In many rural areas in Guatemala students stop attending school after the 6th grade because there is no higher level school nearby, and it costs money for transportation and uniforms. Additionally the families need the older children to be working at home and in the fields to provide food for the family to eat. GVH is exploring a scholarship program to give selected students who are in the top of their 6th grade class, the opportunity to continue to attend school beyond the sixth grade. GVH is seeking more financial sponsors for this program.
Training Students from United States
We bring medical doctors in the residency training into the jungle on these medical missions to further broaden their experiences for their future work as a doctor. The doctors receive educational credit for these trips. Even so, they must pay their way to go on this trip. Medical faculty members accompany the doctors into the jungle villages.