Partner for Surgery Guatemala
Partner for Surgery and Compañero para Cirugía (ACPC), 15 years and going strong! Changing lives through medical care.
In the July 2009 issue of the Revue, the cover featured a wonderful picture of a little girl peeking at the camera from behind the protection of her mother’s skirts. That little girl was attending a medical mission of Partner for Surgery, a nonprofit founded in 2001 by U.S. volunteers Frank and Todd Peterson to provide surgery to Guatemala’s poorest rural populations.
Here is what Partner for Surgery has been doing since 2009. First of all, the dream of Partner for Surgery has always been to turn the organization over to Guatemalans and full-time residents in Guatemala. We are proud to say that this has been successfully accomplished with the creation of ACPC – Asociación Compañero para Cirugía.
For the last four years ACPC has been responsible for management of the mission activities in Guatemala and is proving successful in fundraising. Partner for Surgery continues to recruit volunteers, is the U.S. contact for organizations interested in our shared mission, and provides a major portion of the funding.
In the last 15 years, Partner for Surgery and ACPC combined have been responsible for over 11,000 surgeries for Guatemala’s rural poor, including cleft lips and palates, hernias, tumors, gynecological problems, burns and club feet.
These numbers have been accomplished by sending medical missions to rural communities and patients to surgical teams that work with the Franciscan facility Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro in La Antigua Guatemala and Hospital Niño Jesús in Guatemala City. Over 50,000 people living in some of the most remote areas of Guatemala have received medical care.
One of our most successful programs is the in-home Cleft Infant Nutrition Program for babies born with extreme cleft lip and palate birth defects who would likely die without intervention. We work with 5,000 midwives in the Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz and Quiche region who call our local health promoter when a baby is born with this problem. If the health promoter can reach the mother while she is still lactating, we provide instruction and special bottles to enable the baby to nurse; otherwise, we provide formula.
Each month the health promoter monitors the baby until he or she is healthy enough for surgery. At any given time, almost 200 infants are in the program, which has benefited over 1,000 babies since its inception seven years ago. Doctors on the surgical teams marvel at the babies’ health.
Partner for Surgery and ACPC are addressing the high incidence of clefts in Guatemala in cooperation with an ongoing study at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. to initiate a cleft prevention program.
We also do cervical cancer and breast cancer screening on medical missions and train rural health center nurses so women do not have to make multiple trips for testing, results and treatment. Since its beginning in 2008, over 300 health providers have been trained in this process and approximately 12,500 women have been evaluated.
How You Can Help
Donations are always needed and appreciated and can be given to ACPC, Kilómetro 30, Lote 26, Residenciales Prados de San Lucas, San Lucas Sacatepéquez or to Partner for Surgery, P.O. Box 388, McLean, Virginia, 22101. Partner for Surgery is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the U.S. and donations are tax deductible for U.S. citizens.
We urge you to participate! If you or someone you know would like to learn more about accompanying a medical mission or surgical team, we would like to hear from you. We promise that your experience will have a profound effect on your life. Knowledge of Spanish is not essential. For more information on mission schedules, cost, and other details, contact Liset Olivet, executive director of ACPC, telephone 4006-6703 or firstname.lastname@example.org