Help Hospitalito Atitlán Remain Open

Help Hospitalito Atitlán Remain Open

From Hospitalito Atitlán

On April 1st, 2020, Hospitalito Atitlán will celebrate 15 years of caring for the Maya population of Lake Atitlán. However, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, its future is uncertain. We need your help!

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Recent Updates

Update #1

about 1 month ago

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We hope this note finds you well. To the members of the Hospitalito family in the United States or elsewhere who are currently on the frontlines of the COVID-19 epidemic, thank you for all you are doing. We are thinking about you every day and wishing for your health and safety.

We are immensely grateful to you for your generous support of our campaign during these difficult times for all. Thanks to your contributions—both through donations and sharing the information with others—Hospitalito Atitlán remains hard at work ensuring patients with a variety of conditions are being cared for, and we are ready to manage any suspected COVID-19 cases.

Since the ‘public calamity’ as it is called in Guatemala, staff have taken various steps to support the community. We would like to share with you some of our progress:
- The completion of a COVID-19 emergency response plan together with the Ministry of Health.
- The completion of protocols for disinfection, use of personal protective equipment, and use of UV lamps.
- The donation of 1,300 medical masks to Santiago Atitlán’s Centro de Salud (to support government health workers who were running low on personal protective equipment).
- The creation of educational videos in Tz’utujil that are being aired on cable television and social media. The level of formal education in Santiago Atitlán is very low and with many residents unable to read or understand Spanish. The videos are important tools to get the message to the community.
-The delivery of food baskets to 56 families with children with acute malnutrition and the planned delivery of many more.
- HA’s social worker is communicating with patients and women in the maternal infant program, making home visits when possible and coordinating well child check-ups.

On April 16, Aljazeera published an article “Fears grip Guatemala’s indigenous groups as coronavirus sets in” about the state of health in Guatemala, a solemn reminder of the precarious situation we are facing as a health center in a rural indigenous area of the nation.

The Hospitalito outpatient clinic remains closed with only the services of general medicine, trauma, general dentistry and pediatrics attending on a limited, appointment-only basis. The emergency room is open 24/7. The Guatemalan government continues to enforce a 4PM to 4AM curfew and as of Monday, April 15, the use of masks in public is obligatory. Guatemala has 214 confirmed positive cases and 7 deaths. It is widely believed that the worse has yet to come as the curve of infected patients continues to climb.

If you are able, please continue to share the information about our campaign to help us reach our goal. Mil gracias!

Be Well,
The Hospitalito Team

More Info

On the eve of its 15th anniversary, Hospitalito Atitlán needs your support more than ever.

*All tax-deductible donations will go directly to Hospitalito Atitlán's COVID-19 Emergency Fund via the Hospitalito’s US nonprofit, Amigos Hospitalito Atitlán.**

**THE FIRST $20,000 IN DONATIONS WILL BE MATCHED**

About Us

At Hospitalito Atitlán, we believe access to high-quality health care and health education in the patient's maternal language should be a basic right, not an exception in rural Guatemala.

Hospitalito Atitlán is located in Santiago Atitlán (population 54,000), the largest indigenous town on beautiful Lake Atitlán. Despite its pristine scenery, the lake creates nearly insurmountable obstacles to health care access for the Maya on its southern shores. 

The hospital was founded in 2003 by a grassroots group looking to reduce maternal-infant mortality and provide greater access to care  for the population. The group spearheaded the renovation of a hospital building abandoned during Guatemala's 36-year Civil War and Hospitalito Atitlán opened its doors to the public on April 1, 2005.

Tragically, just six months later, the new community hospital was destroyed by a massive mudslide triggered by rains of Hurricane Stan. Instead of giving up on providing accessible health care in the wake of this community tragedy, the Hospitalito moved to a temporary location and the local and international communities came together to build a new facility. This building, the current Hospitalito, opened in late 2011 and ever since, the organization has worked tirelessly to expand its specialities and low-cost services available to the population. 

What We’ve Accomplished 

Thanks to your continuous support over the past decade and a half, the Hospitalito has changed the face of health care in rural Guatemala.

  •  Due the HA making 24/7 OBGYN and Anesthesia coverage—the only place in a 90 minute driving radius to do so--maternal mortality in Santiago a rarity.
  • Over 43,000 patients have been seen since 2005
  • Over 5,000 surgeries, have been performed, many by specialist surgeons from around the world who generously donate their time to perform operations previously not available to local residents.
  • HA’s community programs have provided nutrition and diabetes education around the entire department of Sololá, equipped 30 government health clinics in the department to provide diabetes detections, and provided thousands of free consults in some of the most rural, marginalized areas of the region.
  •  The social work department has provided over one million dollars in free and discounted care.

The Hospitalito has achieved 65 percent sustainability from small donations by local patients for medical consultations. We are able to cover medical care for families without the ability to pay thanks the generous donations of our supporters.

COVID-19 Has Changed Everything

The Guatemalan government has taken an aggressive approach to stopping the coronavirus:

  • Closing all borders.
  • Suspending national public transportation.
  • Limiting all but essential services.
  • Imposing a 4 pm – 4 am curfew.

These measures will continue at least through April.

The government has also closed down the Hospitalito’s outpatient clinics in order to promote social distancing and focus only on attending to emergencies — eliminating our local financing

Meanwhile, the Hospitalito is taking its own precautions:

  • Screening all patients for symptoms or risk of COVID-19. Patients and family members with symptoms are isolated to await Ministry of Health staff.
  • Suspending community outreach projects to prevent potential virus spread and protect vulnerable populations and staff.
  • Ensuring that our patients have accurate COVID-19 information. We produced two educational videos in the local Maya language Tz’utujil — which are airing on local cable stations and being shared on social media. Watch them here: General Information ; Hand washing 

The Hospitalito is also preparing in case its beds are needed for the COVID-19 treatment effort. Guatemala’s public health system is among the least well-equipped in Latin America, with just 6 hospital beds per 10,000 people, making us fear a collapse is eminent. 

While we work hard to continue to provide emergency medical care and prepare for the arrival of COVID-19, we have lost nearly all of our main source of revenue—patient donations—and have already been forced to cut staff and services as we struggle financially. 

Don’t Let 15 Years of Medical Progress Be Destroyed

A COVID-19 Emergency Fund Donation Will Keep Hospital Doors Open.

This money pays the salaries of those who provide 24/7 emergency care — physicians, nurses, lab technicians and support personnel as well as allows us to continue to provide care for the area's neediest families free of charge. If the Hospitalito loses its staff, it won’t be able to meet the emergency medical needs of the community.

The financial contributions of our friends around the world have sustained us over the years. Now, on our 15th anniversary, we need your generosity more than ever. On behalf of the population of Santiago Atitlán and surrounding communities, we thank you. 

 *Donate to the Hospitalito Atitilán COVID-19 Emergency Fund Today!*

Questions? Email us at info@hospitalitoatitlan.org

Donations may also be made via our secure online donation platform. 

Check out our website for more information.

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Hospitalito Atitlán posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #1

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We hope this note finds you well. To the members of the Hospitalito family in the United States or elsewhere who are currently on the frontlines of the COVID-19 epidemic, thank you for all you are doing. We are thinking about you every day and wishing for your health and safety.

We are immensely grateful to you for your generous support of our campaign during these difficult times for all. Thanks to your contributions—both through donations and sharing the information with others—Hospitalito Atitlán remains hard at work ensuring patients with a variety of conditions are being cared for, and we are ready to manage any suspected COVID-19 cases.

Since the ‘public calamity’ as it is called in Guatemala, staff have taken various steps to support the community. We would like to share with you some of our progress:
- The completion of a COVID-19 emergency response plan together with the Ministry of Health.
- The completion of protocols for disinfection, use of personal protective equipment, and use of UV lamps.
- The donation of 1,300 medical masks to Santiago Atitlán’s Centro de Salud (to support government health workers who were running low on personal protective equipment).
- The creation of educational videos in Tz’utujil that are being aired on cable television and social media. The level of formal education in Santiago Atitlán is very low and with many residents unable to read or understand Spanish. The videos are important tools to get the message to the community.
-The delivery of food baskets to 56 families with children with acute malnutrition and the planned delivery of many more.
- HA’s social worker is communicating with patients and women in the maternal infant program, making home visits when possible and coordinating well child check-ups.

On April 16, Aljazeera published an article “Fears grip Guatemala’s indigenous groups as coronavirus sets in” about the state of health in Guatemala, a solemn reminder of the precarious situation we are facing as a health center in a rural indigenous area of the nation.

The Hospitalito outpatient clinic remains closed with only the services of general medicine, trauma, general dentistry and pediatrics attending on a limited, appointment-only basis. The emergency room is open 24/7. The Guatemalan government continues to enforce a 4PM to 4AM curfew and as of Monday, April 15, the use of masks in public is obligatory. Guatemala has 214 confirmed positive cases and 7 deaths. It is widely believed that the worse has yet to come as the curve of infected patients continues to climb.

If you are able, please continue to share the information about our campaign to help us reach our goal. Mil gracias!

Be Well,
The Hospitalito Team

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