Project Partner for Surgery
One out of 10 rural Guatemalans suffers from a physical condition or disability that can be surgically cured. However, only 11 percent of Guatemalans have access to surgical care. Maya Indian populations face daunting barriers to treatment, including fear of hospitals and lack of information, Spanish language skills and financial resources.
As many as 100 international surgical teams volunteer their services each year but have no infrastructure to reach the most impoverished rural Guatemalans. Many of these teams rely on Partner for Surgery to link them with the patients who they came to serve.
Our mission is to enable the neediest Guatemalans access to quality medical and surgical care. We organize medical triage missions into rural areas, pair patients with surgical teams and escort and stay with them throughout the hospital experience. The PfS model focuses on helping Guatemalans help themselves by training responsible community members to be our local area leaders.
Founded in 2001 by Frank and Todd Peterson, Partner for Surgery has provided medical care to over 30,000 rural individuals and over 5,000 with access to surgery.
In 2009, PfS will organize and lead seven triage missions into the rural areas and expects an additional 5,000 people to be given medical attention and 1,500 with access to surgery. In November 2008 we inaugurated a new surgical center in San Juan Sacatepéquez dedicated to serving PfS patients and are recruiting surgical teams.
To maintain their dignity, patients are asked to pay what they can afford, but it is always very little. Partner for Surgery relies on donations to make up the difference. $60 (or Q500) covers costs for one patient and $600 covers the average cost of a village. Donations can be made online at www.partnerforsurgery.org. We are also looking for translators willing to pay their own expenses to accompany PfS on rural triage missions and volunteer surgical teams.