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Making a Difference in Guatemala

San Juan Capistrano Rotary joined with other clubs to increase the capabilities of the Medical Center in Santa Catarina Mita, Guatemala. A Rotary Global Grant of more than $90,000, authored by Klaus Schadow of the Rotary Club of San Clemente, provided a free Health Fair for 150 people that was conducted in late April, 2019. It adddressed the areas of general medicine, gynecology, vision, dentistry.

The Health Fair in Santa Catarina Mita, Guatemala
Health Fair waiting list

That was followed by providing free check-ups for 220 people in Outreach Programs to three villages surrounding Santa Catarina.

A volunteer doctor helps an elderly man near Santa Catarina Mita as part of the Medical Clinic's outreach program.
A volunteer doctor helps an elderly man near Santa Catarina Mita as part of the Medical Clinic's outreach program.

Part of the funds were used to enhance the physical security of the Medical Center complex and to install a generator and water tank. Remodeling of the Center provided additional space for a diagnostic laboratory and a recuperation room.

Diagnostics equipment bids (analyzers for clinical chemistry, hematology, urology, coprology, serology, immunology, microbiology, and hormones) are being finalized. Past Rotary Global Grants purchased dental, vision, ENT and ultrasound equipment as well as a 4x4 truck for outreach to nearby villages.

The regular clinics at the Center (general medicine, vision, dental, gynecology, ENT) are continuing. To make the clinic Medical Center self-sustaining, the doctors are charging an affordable fee (and provide free services if needed).

Rotary has a long history of health services in Santa Catarina Mita starting in 2002 with yearly Health Fairs to provide free services, including for people who never visited a doctor. Subsequently, the health services were enhanced with year-around clinics for dental services in 2007. Vision services were added in 2011, and ear/nose/throat (ENT) services in 2014. In 2016 these specialized services were combined with general medicine and gynecology in one 4,000 sq.ft. Medical Center, leased by the Mayor to Fraternidad Catarineca for 35 years at no cost.

Our work in Guatemala was possible through close collaboration with Fraternidad Catarineca (Abner Polanco and Lilian Chincilla) and close cooperation with Rotary Clubs in District 5320 (San Juan Capistrano, Newport-Balboa, San Clemente Sunrise, Laguna Beach, Irvine, and Villa Park) and in Guatemala (Club Rotario Huehuetenango, de la Ermita and Guatemala Oeste).


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