Partner for Surgery’s Guatemalan born Health Promoters are the hallmark of our approach – no one else does what we do. Health Promoters live in the remote villages where they work. They are recruited for their compassion and drive and trained in health education. They reach out and get help to those most in need, broadcast Health Education Programs in both local Mayan dialects and Spanish, advertise the dates of upcoming Mobile Medical Missions, and accompany patients on their often long journeys to surgery.
Cleft lip is a gap in the upper lip that can continue to the nose, depending on the severity of the case. Cleft palate, a more severe condition, is a gap between the two skull plates that form the roof of the mouth. Left untreated, the condition prevents the infant from latching on to the mother’s breast to breastfeed, which leads to malnutrition and starvation. Infants who manage to survive suffer from frequent respiratory infections, and as they grow, they are bullied and never accepted into the community. To make matters worse, their family is stigmatized.
Cleft lip/palate surgery closes the palate and nasal cavity and constructs a full upper lip. Partner for Surgery connects the most impoverished Guatemalans living in the most remote areas of Guatemala with international Surgical Missions who perform the surgeries. The Guatemalans we serve (primarily Maya), would otherwise never be reached. The family is provided with a place to stay near the surgery site, and the patient receives 24-hour medical care while in recovery. The Health Promoter then accompanies the patient and the family back to their home, and is available for any necessary follow up.