Photos from the Field

Guatemala 2010

In 2010, Program Officer Patti Skillin visited 13 hospitals and health centers in Guatemala to assess previous donations from Global Links and evaluate potential partners for future projects. This hospital in El Quiche, which had received an earlier donation from Global Links, was cultivating social awareness and acceptance of giving blood to form a regional blood bank.
The hospital in El Quiche was one of several in Guatemala to receive endoscopy towers like this one from Global Links. Because of the donation, one of their surgeons was selected by a Japanese aid agency to go to Japan for extra training.
Skillin stopped at Hospital Tiquisate, which has facilities for basic care and three operating rooms. These safe and comfortable examination tables from Global Links were appreciated by doctors and patients in their maternal health department.
Global Links’ staff members often see exam tables like this one, which is still used in Tiquisate when absolutely necessary. Dr. Evelyn Sican, director of Hospital Tiquisate and an ob-gyn, said such tables are unstable and flip over easily when patients climb onto them. She was extremely pleased with the excellent condition and sturdiness of the tables Global Links donated.
Hospital Tiquisate attends 200 to 250 births per month. Skillin was glad to see these beds from Global Links ready for use, along with IV poles and fresh linens, but noted that, like every hospital she visited, there was a need for bedside and overbed tables – basic items that help keep the wards clean and the patients comfortable. Without tables, patients put belongings on the floor, and food trays on the beds.
Skillin also visited Hospital Escuintla, which in 2008 had attended 50,000 patients. In 2009, after the government made all hospital services free, that figure had risen to 100,000 patients. The hospital was glad to have this safer, modern gurney from Global Links (on the right), but must still use the old one (on the left) at times because of the increased number of patients.
Global Links donated much of the office furniture for the newly remodeled administrative area in this large hospital. Good quality furnishings improve efficiency, organization and working conditions.
At Jalapa, Skillin saw a need for many basic furnishings, such as exam tables, medical supply and storage carts and other equipment.
Jalapa also needs beds, mattresses, and linens. Torn mattresses contribute to the spread of disease.
Like most hospitals in developing countries, Jalapa buys gauze in bulk rolls to save money, but before it is sterilized and used, OR staff must spend hours cutting it into squares. Global Links includes pre-cut gauze in most donations.
Global Links sent over 100 electric hospital beds to Guatemala in 2010. Electric beds are important for post-surgical recovery, but not every hospital can support such sophisticated equipment. Our collaborative approach and pre-shipment evaluations ensure that items like these will reach health centers able to use and maintain them for the communities they serve. In Quetzaltenango, they are reserved for the most fragile patients.
One of the last stops on the trip was Hospital Huehuetenango, which serves a large and growing region far from Guatemala City. This hospital also received an endoscopy tower and special instruments from Global Links. Medical staff showed Skillin the operating room set up for minimally-invasive procedures with materials, including the OR table, from Global Links.
The medical staff played a video for Skillin of an endoscopic procedure performed at the hospital with the equipment from Global Links – evidence that this donation is in good hands. Patients recover more quickly from endoscopic (minimally invasive) procedures than from traditional surgeries, and have less scarring.
Global Links’ donations have reached more than half of the hospitals in Guatemala’s public health system. We will continue to work alongside our Guatemalan partners as they invest in the health – present and future – of their communities.