Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu' Kawoq
Wuqu ’Kawoq is innovating a healthcare model focused on providing high quality services with linguistic and cultural competence for indigenous, poor and marginalized communities in Guatemala.
Our mission is to transform the health of mayan communities in Guatemala. We believe that everyone, regardless of where they are born or what language they speak, should have the best medical care.
Our vision is a future in which it will never be necessary to choose between cultural priorities and health and social status priorities; in which the indigenous and marginalized culture lives, vitalizes and transforms the development discourse in Guatemala.
We provide medications and supplies for health care to our patients.
We provide primary health services in chronic disease including:
- Nutrition Program for children with chronic and acute malnutrition
- Cervical Cancer Screening
- Family Planning
- Women's Health
- Diabetes and Hypertension
- Care Navigation for Cancer, Complex Care Needs and Surgeries
- Care Navigation and Capacity Building for Midwives in a mobile health base program for women and infants
We also offer the following programs:
- First Aid
- Women's Health
- Early Child Health
- Chronic Disease
- Navigation of CareHealth advocacy
- Mobile Health solutions for women and babies
Chronic disease in Guatemala, lack of quality, health care in Mayan languages. The co-founders have performed research in anthropology, public health and health care in Guatemala since 2002. We run a research lab: www.wuqukawoq.org/lab
Maya Health Alliance is creating incredible impact in Guatemala. For example, their chronic malnutrition program treats 2000 children a year and has had unprecedented results. At a community level, they have repeatedly shown that it is possible to reduce rates of chronic malnutrition by 20-40% within 2-3 years. More importantly, they can show that these reductions in malnutrition correlate with large improvements in cognitive outcomes. These programs yield lifelong benefits, enhancing cognition, success in school, and future earnings potential.
In 2019 in Women's Health they screened 1500 women for cervical cancer and provided further testing and treatment for 45 women with abnormal results. Ten women underwent treatment for cancerous results and are now cancer-free. In the fight to reduce maternal mortality, Maya Health increased the detection of preeclampsia by more than six-fold the rate reported in the public hospital system, with successful hospital referrals saving both mother and babies lives.
Since 2007, we have had over 100,000 direct beneficiaries and over 50 peer-reviewed publications. Our impact in 2019: 20,000+ patients served, 10,000+ home visits, nutrition monitoring & care for 2,275 children under five, education & care for 160+ people with diabetes, in-home education for 500 diabetics, reproductive health care access for 5,000 women, 1,500 cervical cancer screenings, 5,000+ staff training hours and 438 health workers trained, 12 peer-reviewed publications.
In 2019, our midwives attended to over 800 prenatal patients and births with smartphones and 49 were cases with serious complications before and after birth. All of the mothers and children survived, reflecting substantial improvement over typical maternal and infant mortality rates in the region. We had zero maternal deaths in our cohort.
We do implementation science. The Center for Indigenous Health Research (Centro de Investigación en La Salud Indígena) was founded by a multidisciplinary group of researchers at Maya Health Alliance, with the goals of advancing scientific investigations into the health needs of these communities. Researchers at CISI come from diverse backgrounds, but we share an interest in core themes (noncommunicable diseases, like cancer and diabetes; chronic malnutrition and food security; civil society and the study of “development”; and gender and health).
We also share an interest in certain methodological approaches, especially in mixed methods, applied anthropology, and implementation science. We measure and collect our data in a variety of ways, depending on the program. Maya Health has a significant technology focus including experience building and maintaining cloud-based electronic medical records and digital data capture applications for use in Guatemala.
Maya Health's medical records have been centralized and cloud-based in an open source electronic medical record since 2010, one of the first organizations in Guatemala to achieve this. In addition, Maya Health has experience with the design and maintenance of Android smartphone applications for use by front-line health workers. In collaboration with Emory University, they used an agile codesign process to create a smartphone app for use by midwives conducting prenatal examinations. The application requires minimal experience with technology, is pictograph driven and therefore usable by midwives with limited to no literacy. It was recently shown to improve obstetrical referral outcomes in a randomized clinical trial.
Finally, Maya Health has successfully used SMS (text message) technology to provide end-to-end integration between frontline workers (midwives) using smartphone health applications and health facilities.
Size and/or structure / Location
We have grown in size since 2007, expanding in local staff in Guatemala, reaching more target beneficiaries and expanding to new departments.
We have tried different funding models, such as fundraising, crowd funding, family foundations, and research grants.
Way in which you collaborate or work with others
We believe collaboration is key to our work and continue to grow our collaborations. We find collaboration is a great way to expand our work and have a stronger impact for beneficiaries.
We will remain a similar size focusing on continuing to train our current staff. We will expand slowly in Cervical Cancer HPV screening, hiring on new leadership staff to being a program.
We are focusing on the transition from Pap Smears to HPV for cervical cancer. This will require focus on quality in order to have PCR lab. Overall, for quality, we continue to provide focused expert raining for our staff.
We will continue our monthly quality improvement meetings for every program to reflect on quality fo the work and to use our data to help inform our work, so we can be sure that our beneficiaries are receiving the expert care that is needed.
We will grow to 3 new departments to cover women's health and chronic disease with our partnership with Friendship Bridge over the next 2 years. We will also offer a robust HPV cervical cancer screening program across the highlands that is accessible and affordable. Similarly, we will greatly grow our capacity in training around nutrition and early infant and childhood growth and education for other NGOs and government.
We will have our entire medical record systems and managerial staff using DIHS2 for all programs for a transparent, friendly open access dashboard to see real time data on our programs, patient numbers, and geographical coverage for all of our programs.
Tying closely to quality, having DIHS2 will enable us to easily share our impact publicly and with partners so we can more easily collaborate and work with government and other NGOS to not duplicate services but join forces to overcome the disparities in Guatemala towards real systemic change, not bandaid fixes.