A child’s ability to show up and do well in school depends greatly on his or her health. Access to health care reduces school absences due to illness and helps prevent health conditions from becoming medical emergencies. In Guatemala, treatable and communicable diseases are still highly prevalent and major causes of death. Access to health care is scarce, so families often delay seeking medical care until health conditions have severely advanced. When this occurs, a family’s limited budget may become overwhelmed by medical bills, one more reason a child has to drop out of school to earn money. To address this, Common Hope provides health care for our students and their entire families.
Access to health care
Our Health Care Program provides basic curative and preventive health care, preventive health care education, dental care, prenatal education, a pharmacy, nutrition services, and community health fairs that reach the broader community. In Antigua, we run a medical and dental clinic that serves affiliated families from the 15 Antigua valley communities where we work. In New Hope, affiliated families have access to a clinic built by Common Hope and run by our health care partner, Sangre de Cristo. In San Rafael, families have access to a clinic run by Hands of Hope, another nonprofit health care partner. In San Miguel Milpas Altas, families have access to the community clinic which we also partner with and support.
A path to greater wellness
Our Antigua clinic achieved a number of health care advances in 2011. Our clinic staff, for example, treated 7,188 patients in the clinic, providing laboratory tests and X-rays, nutritional consultations, physical therapy, and more. In addition, clinic staff conducted school health promotion activities, providing 335 nutritional evaluations in schools, which included educational talks on healthy eating habits and referrals to our clinic for follow-up when necessary. Our dental team visited the schools 54 times in 2011 and provided numerous services such as dental exams, oral fluoride treatments, talks on oral hygiene, and the donation of dental care materials. In addition, the clinic continued to provide monthly educational groups for diabetic and hypertensive patients, to monitor their condition and provide patients with advice on how to maintain good control of their disease.