FUEGO helps to assure the availability of medication in under resourced regions of Guatemala.
Each year FUEGO purchases a wide variety of tablets, capsules, solutions, powders, and creams to replace soon to be expired medications at the El Sendero Clinic in Tecpán, Guatemala. Medications for the eyes, for the stomach, for the skin, for the lungs, for the feet, and many more types of ailments are included. Hundreds of bottles, boxes, and tubes of medication are carried into the country by medical mission team members and traded for the medications with earlier expiration dates currently in stock at the El Sendero Clinic. These older but still effective medications are then distributed free to people from small rural villages who attend the two-week interdisciplinary mission.
Education and support for adolescent girls.
In annual collaboration with the American nonprofit foundation, Days for Girls, FUEGO has facilitated the donation of feminine hygiene kits, personal counseling sessions, and the distribution of educational materials for indigenous adolescent girls in rural Guatemala and Peru. Studies have shown that many such young women miss school and other activities for several days each month. This project is aimed at helping them to keep studying or working.
Working together with local health care providers, a Guatemalan nonprofit, and DOCare International, Fuego helped to open a modern medical clinic in the impoverished highland region of Guatemala called Tecpán. In facilities located on a peaceful, beautiful farm owned by Jon Mellen, the clinic has already expanded due to the demand from the community.
Staffed by Guatemalan physicians and nurses and supported by other non-profit organizations such as Fundación Educa Pueblo Viejo, Project C.U.R.E. and DOCare International, the clinic provides continuity of care to patients of all ages, at very low cost based on the ability to pay.
A new dental clinic recently opened on the farm for which a grant from FUEGO helped to provide much needed equipment.
FUEGO is currently fundraising to expand these clinical facilities to establish a surgery center.
In 2018, FUEGO supported a study of the barriers to health care access.
Over a period of 16 years of annual mission trips to Mexico and Central America, one of the FUEGO board members heard numerous anecdotal reports about the kinds of obstacles that prevent indigenous Mayans from receiving much needed health care
Building on this background, a survey focused on foot and ankle care was developed and conducted orally, in fluent Spanish, to formally investigate the primary limiting factors. Not surprisingly, insufficient financial resources and distance to the nearest health care providers were the leading causes of failure to receive needed foot and ankle care. Additional barriers were reported as well, including limited understanding about health-related issues. In addition, the most common foot and ankle disorders were also tabulated.
The research poster for this study has been submitted to the Ken Suarez, PhD, Research Day Committee for inclusion in the expansive 2020 event in Arizona.
Students who serve become professionals who give.
FUEGO continues its efforts to aid graduate students in health-related studies who wish to serve medical missions or participate in public health projects abroad. Scholarships provide monetary support to help defray the costs of travel for global health outreach participation.
Experience has shown that students engaged in meaningful humanitarian service will develop into professionals that continue to give back throughout their careers.