In August 2021, we launched our Mesoamerican nephropathy* project to address the high levels of chronic kidney disease in the country. We work in early detection, patient care and health promotion.
In Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second-largest city, we run a project that focuses on assisting migrants. Our mobile teams work in different areas in the region, where we provide a range of services to cater for the needs of people on the move, whether travelling north towards Mexico and the United States, or returning home, such as the large number of deported Guatemalans.
*Nephropathy is the deterioration of kidney function
After a delay in the launch of our Mesoamerican nephropathy project focused on kidney diseases, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we finally started activities in 2021. Our team works in three municipalities in Esquintla department (La Democracia, La Gomera, Sipocate), an area almost entirely given over to large-scale agriculture. The main activities of the project are early detection, patient care and health promotion, as well as an advocacy strategy to improve diagnosis and care as we accumulate data and field experience.
We started community screening and spreading health promotion messages in August, and had tested nearly 600 people by the end of the year. A key component of the project is working with the community, as the region has well-established community structures and leaders, which wield significant influence. Our team is also considering different operational research topics that may support our advocacy regarding improving detection and treatment for chronic renal problems in the country.
In October, we started another new project, based in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second-largest city, which focuses on assisting migrants. We deploy two mobile teams, consisting of a doctor, a psychologist, a social worker, a health promoter, a team manager and a driver, to different sites in San Marcos and Huehuetenango departments, where they provide a range of services to cater for the needs of people on the move, whether travelling north towards Mexico and the US, or returning home, such as the large numbers of deported Guatemalans.
In addition, we support local health centres serving people who live in this border area. Like all MSF activities in Central America, the project has a strong advocacy component, mainly targeting repressive US migration policies and calling for greater access to care, particularly mental health services, and protection from violence for migrants.