Posted on September 5, 2018
From a health care system that faces many obstacles to health problems that stem primarily from poverty, there are many challenges for those who need medical care in Guatemala. Learn more about some of the most common health issues in Guatemala today and what you can do to help.
Reasons for the Broken Health Care System of Guatemala
If illnesses are treated quickly, then they don’t spread. This isn’t possible in Guatemala, however, due to a cluster of reasons that make their health care system undependable. Explore the reasons why the health care system is a major part of the problem in Guatemala.
Few Doctors in Rural Areas
The vast majority of the population of Guatemala resides in the rural areas that are ideal for farming. However, 80% of the doctors in the country are in Guatemala City, where many of the poorer citizens can’t easily reach them.
22 Languages Are Spoken
Guatemala has been home to Mayan natives for centuries, and there are currently 22 recognized languages spoken in the country. Since most health care professionals only speak the nation’s official language of Spanish, many locals in rural areas have trouble communicating with their doctors. This lapse in communication keeps many Guatemalans from getting the care they need.
Cultural Issues Complicate Medical Care
With a wide range of indigenous cultures each with differing perspectives on medical care, medicine, and immunizations, it’s difficult for Guatemalans to get on the same page when it comes to health care. Not only is the country extremely diverse with a variety of indigenous cultures, but those cultures are still in conflict after decades of civil war, which makes consistent healthcare difficult.
Major Medical Problems In Guatemala
With these health issues in Guatemala, traveling to the country can pose a number of risks in the form of various diseases. From malaria to rabies, there are a wide range of threats facing travelers to rural parts of Guatemala. But the good news is that immunizations are available to help prevent common issues for travelers.
Mosquito Bourne Health Threats
Both malaria and dengue fever are diseases found in the mosquitos in Guatemala. Malaria immunizations are strongly recommended before traveling to the country.
The Threat of Rabies
There is a noticeable number of stray dogs in Guatemala, especially in rural areas. Rabies shots are an absolute must if you plan on exploring the country’s beautiful hiking trails.
Food Borne Concerns
It’s important to note that health standards in Guatemala aren’t as high or strongly enforced as they are in the U.S. Food-related illnesses can be devastating. It’s recommended to only eat at well-known, highly-reviewed restaurants when traveling to the country.
Join Us In Helping the Children of Guatemala
You’ve seen the challenges facing who need healthcare in Guatemala as well as some of the most likely illnesses in the region. The Hogar Heroes program of Work, Play, Love focuses on helping another group in need. We work to provide care and support the orphaned children in Guatemala by supporting the day-to-day operations of two orphanages outside of Guatemala City.
If you can donate your time or money, you can make a big difference in the lives of those who need it most. Visit our Volunteer page to learn more about our tips, and please consider making a donation today.