“Poor health and lack of interest are the most common causes for dropping out of primary … Efforts to reduce drop out rates and repetition in primary schools should emphasize access to health and quality of education…”
– World Bank, Guatemala Poverty Assessment: Good Performance at Low Levels, 2009
Good health makes a difference beyond a person’s general well-being; it can have a direct effect on educational performance. As the above quote explains, poor health is one of the most common causes of low success rates in elementary school in Guatemala. Unfortunately, Guatemala has extremely low levels of public spending on social programs — the second lowest in Latin America.
For many of our affiliated families, health services besides Common Hope’s clinic and partner clinics are too expensive or, as in the case of the national hospital, too far away. A journey there would require two bus rides for most, which is both costly and time-intensive. Some villages have local, subsidized health posts, but these are typically open only once a week. Because of this, patients often wait to seek medical assistance until their conditions have severely advanced.
Even when patients visit facilities, health information is limited. Doctors and nurses often don’t provide an explanation about health conditions identified, and there is little information about prevention. Yet preventive health can be the most cost-effective mode of health care, with some of the farthest-reaching benefits.