The need is growing – word continues to spread about Partner for Surgery. We are the only ones who do what we do – bring volunteer medical triage and surgical teams to poor rural communities where medical care is so desperately needed. Some members of our small, hard working Guatemalan staff personally escort the medical professionals to the areas where they are needed, and translate from English to Spanish to the dozens of languages spoken among the indigenous people. But what sets us apart is our network of Health Promoters. Because most Guatemalans in the areas we serve have never received medical care and are afraid of hospitals, our first order of business is to build trust. The Health Promoters accomplish this because they live in the villages, among the people we serve, and inform and educate them about the services we offer. By the time a mission comes their way, patients know they can trust us and are anxious to be seen and helped.

Several times a year, we organize and lead a one-week Medical Triage Mission to a Guatemalan rural area. Usually, 2-4 volunteer medical professionals (doctors and nurses) from North America evaluate approximately 1000 patients. The doctors conduct examinations, educate patients about their health options, and typically identify a couple hundred surgical candidates. Doctors and nurses who serve return year after year. They tell us helping these grateful people reminds them why they entered the medical field.

The Health Promoters also participate in the Medical Triage Missions by helping with translation, social-economic study and scheduling of the patients referred for surgery.

For more information, please refer to our FAQs.

Sample itinerary

A Mobile Medical Mission is 9 days long, including travel to and from Guatemala and one cultural day. It runs from Saturday through the following Sunday.

A typical schedule is as follows:

Day 1 (Saturday). Travel to Guatemala. We pick you up with our van from La Aurora Airport and bring you to your hotel in Antigua. This first day you can enjoy the beauty of colonial Antigua and make the necessary preparations for the mission.

Day 2 (Sunday). We leave Antigua on Sunday morning at 8AM, because it will be a long drive to the department of Alta Verapaz. We eat lunch in Cobán, and stay the night at a nice hotel outside of the town of Cahabón.

Day 3 (Monday). Our first triage day. We will be at the Cahabón health center (Centro de Salud). We can take over the whole facility and the nurses of the health center have kindly offered to help us out. Monday the 1st will be the first day of the town fair so we are expecting a strong turnout. We spend the night at the same hotel.

Day 4 (Tuesday). A cultural day. We head over the mountain to the town of Panzos, a town infamous for the 1978 massacre of over a hundred people. The trip takes about 3 hours on a single-track dirt road, passing some of the most isolated terrain in Guatemala. We stop halfway to eat a traditional meal with a Q’eqchi Mayan family. We spend the night in Telemán, a community of Panzos.

Day 5 (Wednesday). Our second triage day at the Telemán health center.

Day 6 (Thursday). We climb up into the mountains to the Senahú health center, where we have our third triage day. In the evening, we return to our hotel in Telemán.

Day 7 (Friday). We head up the Polochic valley to the National Hospital at la Tinta. In the afternoon we will head up to the pavement at San Julian before heading to a hotel in the reserva Biotopo cloud forest.

Day 8 (Saturday). We leave early to take several members to the airport and the rest of you to Antigua. We close this Medical Mission with a nice dinner in one of Antigua’s many restaurants.

Day 9 (Sunday). Leave Guatemala.