ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA 2009
The first trip was a resounding success. When the patients and families clapped for the Screening Team, it was an emotional moment for the team and also served as the first glimpse of the impact the entire OW team would make in Guatemala in 2009.
Did You Know?
Nestled between three active volcanoes, Acatenango, Fuego, and Agua, Antigua is a major commercial center and rich-coffee growing region. Once the thriving epicenter of ancient Central America, visitors can still see local Mayan villages and the colorful native attire. People travel from all over the country to partake in Antigua’s Holy Week celebrations, which are some of the most elaborate and spectacular processions in the Americas. Throughout Guatemala, there are examples of a cosmopolitan lifestyle and indigenous people who still follow century-old customs. In these rural areas, inadequate sanitation and malnutrition contribute to high rates of intestinal diseases and infant mortality.
While Guatemala has universal healthcare, their system has very little structure or oversight. The doctor patient ratio is extremely small, with only about 1 doctor for every 1,000 citizens. Due to issues with access and outcome satisfaction, the Guatemalan health system is ill-equipped to provide highly specialized surgeries, such as total knee or hip replacements.
Many Guatemalan citizens do manual work as a trade and the culture is one that relies on mobility for access to the community. Knowing that Antigua is a walking culture, education on arthritis, joint health and injury prevention are just as imperative and important to the Operation Walk Pittsburgh team as the surgical procedures they will perform while in country.
Mission By The Numbers
After just one week, the Operation Walk Pittsburgh team provided life-changing services to the people of Antigua, Guatemala at no cost. Take a look at the impact of one trip:
63 total joints
61.4 average age
21 years (youngest patient)
82 years (oldest patient)