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Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, pregnant women participating in group antenatal care sessions met to share experiences, receive health information, form social bonds, and track the progress of their pregnancies. Photo credit: MSH staff

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every facet of daily life in Guatemala, including women’s access to antenatal care services (ANC). Under normal circumstances, MSH’s Strengthening Antenatal Care for Mayan Women Project, supports group ANC sessions, providing a safe space for women to receive peer support and accurate health information with the guidance of a nurse. However, with the current government restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no longer possible to meet.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 1 in 10 pharmaceutical products sold globally is falsified or substandard, with deadly effects and the situation is known to be far worse in certain regions of the world; in 2013 alone, falsified malaria medicines killed more than 120,000 children in Africa.  Meanwhile, WHO surveys in 2018 estimated that only about one-third of National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) had the capacity to effectively regulate medical products in their hospitals, pharmacies, and communities, with only one of those NRAs being in Africa.The WHO

Guatemala, like many parts of the world, is on lockdown, with curfews put in place by the Guatemalan government in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Gatherings of any size are prohibited and these restrictions have affected MSH’s Strengthening Antenatal Care Project in the department of Quetzaltenango, which brings together pregnant Mayan women for group antenatal care (ANC) sessions.As of April 15, 2020, Guatemala has recorded 196 cases of COVID-19, including 5 deaths and 19 recovered patients.

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