To mark International Women's Day this month, we're highlighting some of the inspiring women who play a vital role in enabling IHP to carry out its work.
Here, we speak to Odelia, clinic director at Asociación por una vida mejor in Guatemala.
Odelia’s personal experience inspired her to set up the clinic which opened 10 years ago.
“There are many challenges facing the people who live here. There is a high level of malnutrition, because of poverty and not having enough to eat, and because of eating the wrong things. It is not uncommon for parents to give their children coffee to try and fill them up when they cannot afford to feed them a proper meal.
We see lots of skin conditions, linked to overcrowded living conditions, and poor environmental hygiene and lack of clean water. We also see too many cases of injuries connected to violence".
“I myself am a breast cancer survivor. During my treatment I had to frequently go back and forth to the hospital in Amatitlan, which is about 20km away. It was then that I really became aware that for many people, this would be impossible and how difficult it is for those who do not have access to healthcare where they can reach it”.
- Odelia -
"The support of IHP and those who donate medicines makes a huge difference to our patients who are in need. We do everything we can to avoid sending patients away without treatment, but sometimes a lack of medicines makes it inevitable".
"A month ago a woman came in with her 9 year old daughter. They live in a village, far away, so it was not an easy journey for them. The girl had a small rash on her arm for which the doctor prescribed an ointment, but we didn’t have it in stock at the time, so they left empty-handed. They came back again 2 weeks ago, and by then the girls’ arm was covered in rashes, three times the size it had been before, and was beginning to get infected. She was in great discomfort. This time we did have medicines in stock, and we were able to treat her. She came back for a check-up this week and is now doing much better".