Cultivating Care for Totonicapán Communities

Here at Heineman, we’ve made it our mission to bring life-saving medical equipment and training to places like Guatemala and beyond. And we’ll continue to do so until we’ve helped as many people as possible gain access to the care they need and deserve. This level of care is desperately needed globally, and not just in major cities, either. For example, we’re so proud to have done extensive work in the town of Totonicapán – specifically at the Hospital Departamental de Totonicapán, located ina remote area of the Guatemalan highlands.

Until recently, the hospital did not have a dedicated adult ICU and instead used a post-operative area as their interim setup.

Inspired by our mission to provide medical and educational assistance to underserved communities, we sought to enhance the capacity of the hospital. After all, we know providing intensive care for acutely ill and injured patients can be the difference between life or death.

So, we set out to get to work, collaborating diligently with the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance of Guatemala to equip the hospital with new technology and supplies. A small team of biomedical engineers volunteered to make the trip to install the equipment and provide specialized training to the local staff. In doing so, hospital providers were able to familiarize themselves with fundamental functions and continue educating hospital staff in the years to come. The new unit is now equipped with ventilators, monitors, infusion pumps and defibrillators, not to mention an increased bed count from three to eight. Thanks to the team’s efforts and the hospital staff’s dedication to learning, the people of Totonicapán now have access to technology and expertise that can improve their quality of life – or even save their life.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new ICU took place on August 9th, 2019. It will serve eight municipalities and surrounding areas, with a reach of approximately 600,000 people! The new facility is sure to benefit locals like the Mayan and K’iche’ indigenous populations as well as neighboring communities.

Our first encounter with the hospital of Totonicapán was in 2013, through our International Medical Outreach (IMO) Program, a collaboration between Heineman Medical Outreach and Atrium Health. It was then that we implemented a cardiac echo station that eventually became a part of the Guatemalan Echo Network. Over the next four years, more than 1,000 patients were scanned, diagnosed and treated in ways that were previously impossible for the area due to a lack of resources.

Since 2013, we have continued to further our work with the Hospital Departamental de Totonicapán. At the same time, we have expanded our reach throughout hospitals across Guatemala to increase access for an even more extensive network of people in need. With the help of our generous donors and volunteers, hope is on the way for people who have never had these essential services within reach. We aspire to keep improving the quality of care available to patients with a focus on services that support the health of local communities for many years to come.

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