The Clinic is funded and managed by a Guatemalan based non-profit organization called Ajkun pa le Qatinimit (APQ), which is also known as Clinica Medica Cristiana. APQ receives support from its sister non-profit, NGO, the 501(c)(3) approved U.S. based organization Wachalal (wachalal.org). Local Ventura emergency medical doctor Zachery Self manages the clinic. He works in hospitals in Ventura from time to time to raise funds for the Guatemala Clinic.
|Mountain view from the roof of the clinic |
Photo: Mark Kirwin
Dr. Self advised us that in Guatemala, the face of poverty and hunger is young, indigenous and rural. Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world and the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean. This country faces a serious challenge to reduce chronic undernutrition, which is currently at 49.8% among children under 5 years old. Chronic under-nutrition in indigenous areas averages a shockingly high 69.5%. Fifty-three percent of the population lives in poverty, and 13 percent in extreme poverty in Guatemala.
Guatemala has a population of 14.7 million and ranks 133 out of 187 in the 2012 United Nations Human Development Index. The Gross National Income per capita each year is US$2,740. With a Gini index of 53.7, Guatemala is one of the most unequal countries in the world.
In order to address the local malnutrition crises, Dr. Self uses his non-profit medical clinic in Santo Tomas la Union to target the marginalized, impoverished population with tenuous food security. Specifically, it focuses on children from ages 0-5yrs, pregnant and nursing women, and chronically ill adults. In their first year of operation last year, they treated approximately 50 people. Here is the link to their blog regarding the nutrition program: https://ajkunpaleqatinimit.wordpress.com
With KIRF’s aid, Dr. Self will be able to purchase additional nutrition food supplements to address this rural tragedy that is causing young children here unnecessary misery that includes reduced vitality, stature, as well as the the long-term effects of reduced immune function and developmental delays from the inadequate intake of protein and other nutrients.
|Bars the clinic previously used made specifically to assist the |
treating malnutrition. With KIRF’s aid, the clinic is working
with more local sources to make the nutrition supplements.
On Saturday in Tomas de la Union we asked Dr. Self if we could visit the local schools to see if we could help with supplies. Dr. Self introduced us to several teachers from the area. We visited the first school and found out that it lacked necessary workbooks and other study materials.
|Some of the local children waiting for a festival at the school. Photo: Mark Kirwin|
|Above photos: Mark Kirwin|
It is only with your very kind donations that KIRF was able to assist the Clinic’s nutrition program and provide these students with the study materials they needed to receive an education and have opportunities for a better life.
President, Co-Founder KIRF