CONGRATS TO DR. GABRIELA MONTENEGRO!
We are thrilled to share that Research Fellow Dr. Gabriela Montenegro is one of seven talented scientists honored with the 2023 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World.
Among other things, Dr. Montenegro, a nutrition expert, leads our work investigating the impact of daily egg consumption on infant growth and development in rural Guatemala.
After studying in Guatemala, the US, the Netherlands, and Germany, Dr. Montenegro returned to Guatemala to realize her dream of working as a researcher focused on community health in her home country. She is excited to have the opportunity to foster collaborative, science-based research to shift policies and create effective practices to improve health outcomes.
“We are one Guatemala, and we have to work together for changes, make our contributions as citizens. We at Wuqu’ Kawoq are committed to doing this.”
STARTING THE YEAR ON A HIGH NOTE
In January, CEO Anne Kraemer had the chance to meet with Luis von Ahn, Guatemalan-born Duolingo co-founder and CEO, MacArthur Foundation Fellow, computer scientist, and wonderfully generous supporter of women’s and girls’ equality through the Luis von Ahn Foundation!
The Foundation is among those leading the way in new approaches to philanthropy focused on high impact through long-term, trust-based, collaborative relationships with grantees.
We are so fortunate to be among the initial organizations the Foundation supports and to have the opportunity to learn and build with this inspiring community!
CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY WITH A GIFT SUPPORTING OUR WOMEN!
International Women’s Day is March 8: Show your support and get a commemorative mug! We are proud to have a staff that is more than 80% women, including our Chief Medical Officer, computer programmers, and most program managers. Still, women remain enormously under-represented and under-paid in workforces in Guatemala and so many other countries. So, we are excited to get behind International Women’s Day on March 8 and this year’s theme, #EmbraceEquity. Donors who make a gift of $50 or more during the month of March will receive a mug featuring the 2023 theme in English, Spanish, and Kaqchikel.
FIGHTING MALNUTRITION TOGETHER
We have just completed our first community nutrition workshops since the arrival of Covid-19! These powerful, four-month workshops allow moms and other caregivers to support one another and share ideas for feeding their children healthier, more diverse diets using locally available foods.
When Covid precluded community gatherings, we used the time to revise and improve the workshop curriculum. The new classes focus on a different theme each month: nutrition during pregnancy, breastfeeding, supplementary feeding (adding other foods and nutrients to babies’ diets), and preventing malnutrition.
In each class, caregivers offer their own experiences and ideas and learn new ways to improve their family's nutrition through cooking classes.
The first new series of classes began in October and wrapped up in February. It is a joy to be able to bring together mothers to build stronger futures for their children!
PRESENTATIONS & PUBLICATIONS
Barriers to COVID-19 vaccine acceptance to improve messages for vaccine uptake in indigenous populations in the central highlands of Guatemala: a participatory qualitative study.
This is the most recent publication from our collaboration on Covid vaccine acceptance with colleagues from the UCSF Institute for Global Health Sciences and Stanford Center for Health Education. The study found three major barriers to vaccination: (1) a lack of available easily understandable, linguistically appropriate and culturally sensitive COVID-19 vaccine information; (2) issues with vaccine access that prevented people from being vaccinated efficiently and quickly; and (3) misinformation and disinformation that triggered fear and mistrust.
In 2023, the same team of collaborators are building on this work with a study investigating approaches to improve acceptance of childhood vaccines. Childhood vaccinations in Guatemala were among the lowest in Latin America before the Covid pandemic and declined further during the pandemic.
Qualitative study of pathways to care among adults with diabetes in rural Guatemala
Patients with diabetes in rural Guatemala tend to cycle among a variety of providers and sources of care, including public, private, non-profit facilities, and even pharmacies, increasing the risk of more serious complications, according to this study published in BMJ Open. Researchers from our Center for Research on Indigenous Health contributed to the study, which included interviews with patients in two rural regions of Guatemala. The study found that uneven resources and poor experiences at public facilities and costs shouldered by patients in both public and private settings led to fragmented care for the growing number of people with diabetes in rural regions. In some cases, patients seek care only when experiencing acute issues rather than consistently monitoring their conditions with providers. Discontinuous care has been shown to be less effective in managing diabetes and can raise patients’ risks of more serious complications, such as amputations and death. The study’s authors recommend strengthening primary care in public systems and working across sectors to improve diabetes care in Guatemala and other countries experiencing similar challenges.