Leti lives in the western highlands of Guatemala, and her nearest hospital is more than a day’s walk across the mountain. When she went into labor on Christmas Eve, Leti knew she couldn’t make it to the hospital in time so she immediately went to her village’s local Casa Materna where she met a comadrona who provided her a safe place to give birth. With the help of the Casa Materna staff, Leti welcomed a healthy baby girl to her family early on Christmas Day.
In the remote highlands of Guatemala, Flori, a young pregnant Maya woman goes into labor. In rural Guatemala, health centers and trained personnel are few, and far too many mothers deliver in their dirt-floored homes. Flori is fortunate, as she lives in a village that has partnered with Curamericas Global, which pairs community-led efforts from 17 villages in the area with funding from the Guatemalan government and US donors, to build and operate community maternity centers called Casas Maternas Rurales. When Flori arrives at the Casa Materna Rural at 2 am, cold and frightened, a well-trained Auxiliary Obstetric Nurse is there to receive and calm her. She speaks to Flori in her native Mayan language and provides an immediate assessment. The nurse determines that Flori’s blood pressure is elevated, an indication of a dangerous complication called pre-eclampsia that can rapidly cause seizures and death. The nurse quickly arranges for Flori to be transferred to the nearest hospital four hours away. Once she arrives, appropriate treatment is given, and a healthy baby girl is born.
Everline met the KIKOP Curamericas team two years ago after the birth of her first child, but was hesitant to participate in any of the programs. After continued outreach and a challenging second pregnancy, she committed to receiving care visits from a local Community Health Volunteer for the next two years. Together, Everline and her local KIKOP CHV will ensure that her second child is able to thrive as he grows.
Mirlande and her family live in Port-au-Prince, Haiti where they have limited access to medical resources. After the August earthquake and a hurricane that swiftly followed, Mirlande was left trying to figure out how to care for her young children and protect them from COVID-19 when she no longer had access to soap or a hand-washing station. Thanks to your support, Curamericas’ newest partnership with Haiti Outreach Ministries will allow this young family to recover and build a healthy life.
After hearing about a local group in her hometown of Henderson, North Carolina, Maria visited a testing and vaccine education clinic hosted by Curamericas partner, Green Rural Redevelopment Organization. While she got her COVID test and learned more about prevention, a Community Health Worker noticed some symptoms that suggested a thyroid problem. After visiting a referral physician, Maria discovered that she did indeed have a thyroid condition and was able to receive care.
Catalina serves as a nurse, mentor and teacher to our mothers and Care Group leaders in Guatemala. As she meets with mothers one-on-one to check their child’s vitals and health, she proves the value of modern healthcare practices by listening to her neighbors. She teaches from her own experience as a mother, applying what she’s learned from Curamericase to support Care Group leaders who can take information back to mothers in their Care Groups.
Picture a man trekking through the mountains with a chair strapped to his back holding his pregnant wife as they desperately search for a healthcare facility. Tina saw this image when she was with us in Guatemala last year, and it shook her. She marveled at the lengths some people around the world must go to just to give birth to their child. "These individuals were people who wanted help, and they were able to do the work to get where they needed to go."
When Adelina and Mateo were pregnant with their first child, a friend recommended visiting one of our Casa Maternas instead of one of the government-run healthcare facilities in their area with a poor reputation. Adelina and Mateo were blown away by the care they received, from tracking their baby’s growth each visit through an ultrasound to ensuring their son’s health long term. "We will come back, and we'll recommend it to others. The service we get where we live isn't the same quality as the service they offer at the Casa Materna."
Machismo is the devaluation of women, and it’s ingrained in the culture of the communities in which we’re active in Guatemala. Maria is one example of this: when she was a teenager, her sister’s husband got her pregnant. Rejected by her family and forced to leave her home, Maria was left isolated and without support. Then she joined one of our Care Groups. She worked with our Casa Materna staff during her pregnancy and came to our clinic to give birth. Even though her life is still very difficult, Maria is no longer alone.
Hawa is a teenage mother in one of the largest slums in the world. When she found out she was pregnant, she was afraid to seek counsel. "When you're pregnant and a teenager, a lot goes through your mind. How would my family view me now that I'm not married and pregnant?" After receiving encouragement from an older woman in her community, Hawa joined our Care Group. Now Hawa’s 10-month-old baby, who she adores, has received all the necessary vaccines, and Hawa has learned about family planning and HIV/AIDS.
In under-developed countries, health clinics are often unreliable—found to be closed when families spend time and resources to get there. That’s why we ensure our Casa Maternas are open 24/7, so even families with simple, inexpensive needs can always get the help they are seeking. Juana brought her 20-day-old daughter to our clinic because she’d been having diarrhea for a full week. After a few minutes of discussion, our staff learned that Juana had been feeding her baby water mixed with anise because she'd heard it could prevent colic. Our staff explained to Juana that breast milk was all her baby needed for the first six months of her life. This simple intervention wouldn’t have been possible if our clinic was closed when Juana stopped by.
Gloria knows what great healthcare is like. She gave birth to her first daughter in the United States while working. Back in rural Guatemala, her most recent pregnancy proved to be more challenging. She arrived at our Casa Materna with strong labor pains and not enough time or money to make it to the hospital to deliver her baby, so our staff delivered her baby themselves. "Curamericas is so much better than giving birth at home. The Casa Materna is clean and they use gloves. They can detect any complications and give women the help we need." Since we helped with her delivery, Gloria turns to us anytime she or her daughter gets sick.
Angelina credits our clinic for her 8-month-old son’s life. After months of counseling from us, Angelina came to our clinic to deliver her baby because she knew that when women give birth at home, they don't get the care they need should a complication arise. When she arrived, our staff quickly identified that her baby had high blood pressure. We were able to arrange and pay for her to go to the hospital in time to birth a beautiful baby boy.
With lack of access to modern healthcare, many mothers lose their babies as well as their own lives. Thankfully, Ana Rosa lived to share her story. After receiving counseling from us throughout her pregnancy, Ana Rosa came to our clinic in labor. However, our staff identified her baby was set to come in feet first and sent her to the hospital for a c-section. Unfortunately it was too late, and Ana Rosa lost her baby. While checking on her the following day, our staff found parts of the placenta causing an infection in Ana Rosa, who had a fever and elevated blood pressure. They were able to treat her and care for her until she made a full recovery, saving her life.
Having grown up in rural Mexico, Yasmin through she knew material poverty. She eagerly volunteered to serve as an interpreter on a Curamericas trip to Guatemala. But when she arrived, she was struck by how remote and under-resourced the communities she visited were. “I saw the gratitude in their eyes. They were just so happy to have someone caring for them.”
Reach Our Goal
Nearly 5.9 million children this year will not live to see their fifth birthday due to preventable & treatable illnesses, like Pneumonia and Diarrhea. You can act today to save a life.
Good health directly affects education, income, future generations and community wellbeing. Curamericas works hard to bring sustainable changes to the healthcare system in the communities with whom we partner.
Curamericas depends on the support of individuals and organizations to provide life-saving health care services and education where they are needed most. By becoming a supporter you are joining a group of compassionate and forward-thinking individuals who are dedicated to ending the unnecessary death of the world's most vulnerable population, mothers and children.