“As of today, March 25 2020, Guatemala has 24 confirmed and 1 death for COVID -19.  Over the two weeks, Guatemala has taken increasingly stronger measures to prevent the spread of the virus, such as restricting flights, cancelling meetings/gatherings, suspending classes, implementing an 8-day national curfew and setting up 4 temporary hospitals to care for the infected.  These are all necessary and important measures for prevention but the challenges still lay in taking basic measures necessary for communities and families in urban areas. It’s estimated that 3 million Guatemalans do not have access to water affecting basic hygiene.  Many families do not have access to food to save for weeks for isolation when they eat when they can.  The US has 2.8 hospital bed per 1000, South Korea 12 beds per 1000, Guatemala has 0.6 beds per 1000.  There is a growing prevalence of chronic disease such as diabetes, cardiac diseases, and respiratory illnesses.  There is a huge shortage of personal protective equipment nationwide for essential workers including the Health Promoter Practitioner in their respective communities. 

In Las Cruces, we have implemented our own safety measures by dividing into groups to continue care in the clinic, ordering and giving meds to our vulnerable patients for at least 2 months, support to the HPP in their respective communities by delivering medications, tele-medicine, and in the planning phase of a video courses.  We have daily check-ins with the team and we are making masks for use and to share with the ministry clinics. Lack of basic resources such as water and food are challenges at this time, but the strong culture and practice of collectivism of communities in Guatemala are vital in overcoming a pandemic.”
Concern America Field Volunteer Julia, RN, in Las Cruces, Guatemala.