WOMENS' HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Despite efforts to improve the public health care system in Guatemala, the limited resources, lack of infrastructure & personnel, and inadequate supplies of medicines and materials pose profound challenges to meet the healthcare needs of the population, especially for women in rural and indigenous areas.  Guatemala has the highest maternal mortality rate in Central America. (USAID.org)

Access to reproductive health is limited, and social norms see women primarily as child bearers. Almost 21% of women between the ages of 10 - 19 yr. have already had one pregnancy.  Sixteen percent in this age group are mothers. (PAHO.org

 

Guatemala Family Development prioritizes ministry to these women by having a designated Women’s Healthcare Provider in all of our medical clinics.  Our focus is treating gynecologic disorders, but also on education and health prevention within the context of those visits.  Special attention is given to prenatal visits, with most “embarazadas” (pregnant women) seeing a medical provider for the first time in their pregnancy.  After a wellness check, including a doppler check of the baby’s heartbeat, prenatal vitamins are provided to sustain them throughout the pregnancy and for several months while breastfeeding.   Birth control methods are discussed and referrals are made to the regional health center for needed follow-up.  This past year we began cervical cancer screening in cooperation with Guatemalan nurses from the Centro de Salud.  Future plans are to develop opportunities for small group education on key topics of reproductive health, sexual education, women's cycles nutrition and wellness, infant and child care, and self-esteem unique to the communities where we serve.

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