Hospitalito Atitlán Transcends 40 Years of Civil War, Violence and Natural Disaster; New Facility Brings Healthcare and Hope to 75,000 Maya in Guatemala

Share Article

Hospitalito Atitlán, a small private nonprofit hospital serving 75,000 Maya on the southern shore of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, is celebrating the completion of its new 25,000 square foot square facility and re-launch of its website.

News Image
Our efforts to bring affordable, quality healthcare to the people of the Santiago Atitlán area have been marred by civil war, violence and natural disaster. The new building is living proof of triumph over adversity.

Hospitalito Atitlán, a small private nonprofit hospital serving 75,000 Maya on the southern shore of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, is celebrating the completion of its new 25,000 square foot square facility and re-launch of its website. The building was completed on December 2011.

“The new facility is the final chapter in a more than 40-year story,” said Juan Manuel Chuc, Ajanel, MD, Medical Director. “Our efforts to bring affordable, quality healthcare to the people of the Santiago Atitlán area have been marred by civil war, violence and natural disaster. The new building is living proof of triumph over adversity.”

The Hospitalito is a reality thanks to generous financial and in-kind donations, volunteer international medical personnel, and support from Rotary International.

Physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals staff the new energy-efficient building. Medical volunteers— who speak a minimum of intermediate Spanish and commit to a minimum one-month stay — allow Hosptialito Atitlán to serve more people.

Many of the Hospitalito’s patients struggle to put food on the table and ignore medical problems until they become life threatening. The infant and maternal mortality rate in Santiago Atitlán is among the highest in the Americas. Sixty-seven (67) percent of Maya children suffer from malnutrition and its chronic effects — respiratory and diarrheal illnesses. Hospitalito Atitlán is reducing this statistic with a program that allows donors to support a mother and child through the child’s first five years. Thirty dollars a month covers the costs of prenatal care, well baby visits and pediatric care.

Hospitalito Atitlán has outpatient clinics for children, pregnant women and adults, as well as an acupuncture clinic. It offers a full-range of emergency services and more complex obstetric care (depending on staff on hand). More than 60 percent of patients only speak Tz’utujil, the local Mayan language, with staff translating from Tz’utujil to Spanish for medical volunteers. Patients pay a minimal fee and free care is provided for those who cannot pay.

Hospitalito Atitlán is also the site of a medical Spanish CME course accredited by the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

The Hospitalito wants to create outreach clinics in rural areas — in the nearby community — Chacaya and at fincas (plantations) on the road to the Pacific coast. The Maya in these areas are the poorest of the poor and never see a physician. It also hopes to acquire an ambulance and four-wheel drive vehicle, which can navigate the more difficult rural terrain.

“We are proud of the work we are doing,” stated Dr. Chuc. “But there’s still much to be done. Our goal is to make quality healthcare a reality for as many Maya, in the region, as possible.”

Hospitalito Atitlán is a small private nonprofit hospital serving 75,000 Maya living on the southern shore of beautiful Lake Atitlán in the Guatemalan highlands. The hospital provides a full-range of preventive and clinical health services with an emphasis on women and children and has the only 24/7 emergency and surgical obstetrical care within a two-hour radius. Its dedicated staff is made up of local physicians, nurses and administrators who work hand-in-hand with international volunteer medical professionals to bring quality care to the community.

Share article on socal media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Leslie J. Yerman
COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT
(212) 327-2107
Email >
Visit website