Carol’s thoughts after visiting San Jose – June 2011

I’ve read about death rates of children under 5, Tuberculosis rates and that it is a major cause of mortality, malnutrition, lack of potable water and how extreme poverty and lack of access to┬ámedical care impacts lives in Central America.

Nowhere that I have visited in Central America exemplifies this more than the community I visited just over the border in Guatemala. I was “hit between the eyeballs” as we saw the extreme poverty, lack of sanitation and clean water access and lack of access to medical care in the community of San Jose.
Literature points to the problems in rural indigenous populations in Guatemala and this community is evidence of that.

We did a couple of immediate medical interventions…….taking a tiny 5 month old to medical care (he will likely die).


My best guess is that he was a preemie and has underdeveloped lungs. The other situation is causing us grave concern. A mom presented with her daughter who is on Rifampin for tuberculosis. This posed a host of immediate questions and concerns……who else has active TB in this community? Has there been any public health involvement re: diagnosis and treatment? We are trying to find that out?

This community has 4 immediate and urgent needs……

  1. Reliable access to safe water
  2. Sanitation…..latrinas / Hand washing
  3. Public health involvement to do TB control
  4. Dealing with some cases of life threatening lack of food

Long term needs would include a new school classroom, working with the community to increase nutrition levels and working on strategies to help this community access medical care when needed.

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