Compañero en Salud
Changing lives through surgery
by Astrid Barrios
Since 2004 the NGO Compañero en Salud (CENS) has been providing surgical and health services to needy villagers in rural Guatemala. Our mission includes acting as a bridge between foreign surgeons and the Guatemalan patients. National and international doctors, nurses and medical personnel have helped more than 40,000 patients (75% of them women and children) by performing more than 6,000 surgeries and holding more than 60 medical missions.
Through CENS’ work we have increased the quality of life for rural villagers and have helped them become healthy and productive individuals in their communities.
We conduct monthly surgical missions, treating more than 100 patients for tumors, hernias, burns, cleft lip and cleft palate, and pelvic cancer, among other conditions. We also provide patients with informative conferences and emotional support prior to being discharged.
Additionally, CENS has edited a marvelous book, ISTMO, which contains beautiful photographs of the most outstanding scenes in Central America. Proceeds from book sales will benefit CENS.
Among future projects, Compañero en Salud wishes to expand its facilities at Albergue San Gabriel, in San Juan Sacatepéquez, to accommodate more patients in a more comfortable setting.
We need volunteers to translate (English-Spanish) during medical missions and to help with financial support, publicity, sales promotions for the ISTMO book, a speakers bureau and cultural activities.