Nutrition Program Continues to Grow
In Guatemala, Timmy Global Health and Asociacion Pop Wuj have been collaborating on a Nutrition Program to combat staggering rates of childhood malnutrition in the region for several years. Since it’s start in 2011, this program has taken many forms, always with a focus on treatment and prevention of chronic malnutrition in children under 2 (the target age for successful treatment), utilizing education and nutritional supplements.
With an increase in personnel support from Pop Wuj, the program was able to expand significantly in 2013, to its current capacity treating 80-100 families in 3 different communities. In June 2015, Timmy and Pop Wuj took a big step toward the ultimate goal of sustainability, as Pop Wuj staff determined that they would now be able to manage the project independently. Timmy has pledged to continue providing financial support to Pop Wuj as they take on this new challenge.
On July 2, 2015 I had the privilege of joining the Pop Wuj team – made up of a group of local volunteer doctors, nurses and community members, and led by Drs. Carmen Benitez and Barbara Amado, the Pop Wuj clinic directors.
Pop Wuj nurse, Luby Tobar, provided a comprehensive and interactive educational talk on proper antibiotic use, and helped moms understand the best way to care for sick children and infants. After weighing and measuring all of the children, Drs. Benitez and Amado, along with volunteers Dr. Fernando Sandoval and Dr. Hugo Silvestre worked to chart each child’s progress and identify any babies that needed extra attention.
New arrivals and sick babies were given a thorough exam by the team of doctors, who were able to provide individualized education and counseling for mothers (and fathers!), and medication as needed. Finally, each parent/child received their nutritional supplements, vitamins for mom and other children in the family, and further instructions from local community members Dinora (currently an intern in the clinic and hoping to study nursing) and Lidia (Timmy facilitator in Llanos del Pinal).
Estuardo, who provides transportation for the program, has also offered to serve as a volunteer, and helps to weigh/measure, and play with the babies and children in the program. Pop Wuj staff reported that despite the significant amount of work this means for them, they are eager to take the project on, and are actively seeking out local partnerships to continue expanding their capacity and independence to ensure that the program can continue and become even more locally-directed.
I couldn’t be prouder to work with a group of individuals so dedicated to serving their community and fighting the enormous challenges facing the people of Guatemala every day. Timmy will continue its dedication to the fight against malnutrition in Guatemala, not only by supporting Pop Wuj’s programming in Xela, but also by expanding and offering nutrition education and treatment in new communities in Guatemala. Currently we are exploring new potential regions and communities in the Western Highlands that may also benefit from the implementation of nutrition programming, and hope to have new programming in place by 2016.
by Ashley Aue
Ashley is Timmy’s Medical Programs Coordinator on the ground in Xela, Guatemala. This blog post highlights ways that Timmy and our in-country partner Pop Wuj are working together to tackle chronic malnutrition in the Guatemalan highlands.