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Anto had just finished a double shift at a local diner. At 45 years of age, this travelling pizza vendor sighed as he made his way to the ‘Servicios Medicos Vida y Esperanza,’ a hospital in Nebaj, Guatemala. He had made several visits to a local public hospital, looking for relief from his pain, and he was becoming desperate.
The doctors there had been unable to make a proper diagnosis, and he could not afford to do all the expensive tests they had prescribed for him. It was then that a friend told him about the ‘Servicios Medicos Vida y Esperanza’ (Life and Hope Medical Services) hospital’s policy for low-income patients. This hospital, he was told, would provide healthcare to those who could not afford it, and the quality of the care provided was excellent.
Anto entered the hospital and felt a sense of peace; the doctor he met promptly diagnosed type-2 diabetes mellitus, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy. The hospital waived the consultation charges and assisted him with proper medication. Anto is now very grateful to the doctors at this hospital for changing his life for the better.
Anto is one of the many vulnerable individuals who live in the city of Nebaj, Guatemala, where many people face poverty and ill health. It was here that Doctor Juan Pablo Noriega had a vision more than 15 years ago of a hospital that would provide care for a community where over 40 percent of the population had no access to reliable health care services. There is a great need for reliable healthcare, especially for young children, since 16 percent of infants suffer from low birth weight, and 50 percent of all children are malnourished.
Doctor Juan Pablo Noriega and his wife Carolina Astorga began serving in Nebaj in 2005, focusing on providing healthcare to the community. Using an older facility built initially as a feeding center during the civil war, Juan Pablo and Carolina managed to establish a fully sustainable hospital within five years, covering all administrative costs while employing over 30 staff! The hospital includes a dental clinic, a lab, and a pharmacy. They also established two auxiliary nursing schools where over 1000 nurses have been trained. These nurses now provide basic health care in the neighbouring villages.
In 2015, the couple developed plans for a new hospital to replace the building that was becoming inadequate for the community’s needs. The new facility, when complete, will cost approximately $3 million (USD) and will include 24 beds, x-ray and ultrasound equipment, an upgraded dental clinic, an operating room, and community meeting spaces. The first floor of the hospital is now nearing completion. The following construction phase includes purchasing an x-ray machine and other essential equipment, totalling $300,000 CDN. The most urgent need is the purchase of a generator to provide electricity for the whole building during power outages. You can help us reach the goal of $60,000 for this equipment!
ImpactHope focuses on healthcare, child and women empowerment, education, access to clean water, and food security in many other projects worldwide. With your help, vulnerable individuals like Jose have access to reliable and safe healthcare. Give them the gift of hope impacthope.ca/nebaj.
Contact ImpactHope for more information at (519)-824-9380.
Our focus is on breaking the cycle of poverty by empowering local communities, through local partners, to gain access to basic needs, health, and training. Our work is at the grassroots level, primarily working together with national partners, and with some North American partners.