Stories

Letter from Liset Olivet, Executive Director of Asociación Compañero para Cirugía

By | Stories

As Executive Director of Partner for Surgery, Guatemala, I stand with all whose health has been directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19 and the brave heroes of the healthcare system. At the same time, I would like to let you know how we have adjusted to the government pandemic restrictions and probable cancellation of all surgical teams for the rest of the year.

Our current focus is to ensure our Cleft Infant Nutrition Program can continue providing child monitoring, formula, and other supplies to the increasing number of participating families. Unfortunately, many of these same families have lost their employment and now are in pressing need of food, so we are providing some essential items and working with other organizations and partners for additional assistance. Fortunately, we have been able to obtain waivers to the travel restrictions so that our health promoters can continue to visit, deliver supplies, and provide education to the families on virus prevention through masks, hand washing, and social distancing. Like many other organizations, we have furloughed some staff, but are maintaining those needed to restart missions whenever possible.

As of June 28th, there were 17,409 recorded cases, 13,491 are active, and 3,170 have recovered. Sadly, 746 Guatemalans have died of COVID-19 and two from other diagnoses. Given the lack of government health services in rural communities, the actual numbers are undoubtedly much higher. We are incredibly appreciative of your continued assistance because, without you, our mission would not survive.

Lastly, I am forever grateful and inspired by the commitment, resilience, and dedication of our Health Promoters and staff who have shown up and take additional steps to stay true to helping the most vulnerable in Guatemala.

Warm regards,

Liset Olivet

Executive Director in Guatemala

Health Promoters in the Time of COVID-19

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ACPC, our host in Guatemala, currently employs Health Promoters whose job it is to make monthly wellness home visits to the babies awaiting surgery.

When COVID-19 shutdowns began, ACPC was prepared for the possibility that they would not be able to get formula to families in need. They placed formula with the Health Promoters and made sure that each patient’s household had an extra supply, as well.

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Numerous Missions Canceled Due to COVID-19

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When Guatemala halted all flights from the United States and Canada, Partner for Surgery had to suspend surgical missions for the foreseeable future. In order to ensure the health and well being of the children and families who were waiting, Partner for Surgery’s Guatemalan Health Promoters and staff have stepped up to make sure the children in the Infant Nutrition Program remain healthy as they wait for their surgeries. More than 150 children are depending on our support.

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Update on Partner for Surgery and a Path Forward

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A Message From Partner for Surgery President, Todd Peterson

These are extraordinary times. I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy. My family is adjusting to this “new normal,” doing our best to maintain some daily structure and playing lots of board games! We also feel incredibly blessed, understanding that we are far better off than most in the world.

As in the US and most other countries, the coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on Guatemala. All travel into the country has been suspended and a curfew is in place from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. in an effort to prevent the spread. These strict measures were necessary because the Guatemalan health system is ill-prepared to test and provide the critical care needed for those who may develop COVID-19. Thankfully, the number of Guatemalan cases has been minimal and we pray this continues.

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Letter From the PfS Board President – December 2019

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Thank you for your help following the Fuego volcano eruption!

Dear Donors,

As you may recall, Partner for Surgery made a special appeal for funds to support burn victims when the Fuego volcano erupted near Antigua in June of 2018. Donations were used for patient travel and other expenses for the numerous trips to the Guatemala City burn clinic where patients received care for over a year. Support was generous and with the remaining funds we were able to purchase some of the very expensive compressive wrap necessary to keep skin grafts in place. The cloth finally arrived from an Asian supplier in October and volunteer surgeon Lourdes Santizo and the hospital staff were very appreciative.

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Partner for Surgery Develops and Maintains Relations Within Rural Communities

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Our Health Promoters are one of our strongest resources

Partner for Surgery has over 15 part-time rural Health Promoters who live in the communities they serve. These men and women publicize upcoming Medical Missions and help locate patients in need of life changing surgery.  They monitor babies in the Cleft Infant Nutrition Program, as well as escort patients to the hospital and stay with them until they are ready to go home. If problems develop, patients know the Health Promoters can be called upon for reassurance and assistance. The two examples featured this month illustrate how important Health Promoters are, not only to the people they serve, but to the success of PfS. Read More