2022 Project Story: Guatemala Xela

Although Guatemala’s government has made improvements to health services and systems, rural populations still struggle to access basic aid. In 2018, the probability of death for children under five years old was 26 out of 1000—10 times more likely than that of the United States. This disparity is even greater among indigenous rural communities with families of Mayan descent.

The World Bank estimates that basic health and nutrition services meet only 54 percent of the needs of the rural population.  The vast difference in health care access can be tracked by following the rate of births with a skilled attendant: 70.2 percent of urban non-indigenous families and only 29.1 percent of rural indigenous families. This is typically due to lack of access to a health facility. 

In a neighborhood just outside of Xela, health care workers run a health clinic for the village’s 11,000 families. The rainy season causes the health clinic to flood and the city’s street pollution flows directly to the clinic. This pollution compromises the sterile environment for necessary medical procedures. This inundated and polluted structure is thus unusable during the rainy season.

This summer, HumanitarianXP Builders will construct a health clinic on higher ground to ensure year-round functionality. This project will divide the demand of medical needs and support the local health professionals. It will create a more sanitary and stable healthcare environment for those who are in need of assistance.

Source: USAID, CDC, World Bank 2013