Working in a provisional hospital set up to provide care for Covid-19 patients in Guatemala City, Dr. Juergen Kiehnle, Conscience International Program Director for Latin America, is serving side by side with local doctors, volunteering to work rotations, and establishing partnerships with doctors, nurses, firefighters and other NGOs in order to “expand the impact of our work.”
Dr. Kiehnle in PPL, Personal Protective Gear Dr. Oswaldo taking a break to rehydrate with Pedialyte
Dr. Kiehnle, himself a native of Guatemala, returned to his home country in June to help in areas where there is a critical shortage of doctors and other medical personnel--in spite of personal risk to the coronavirus. He will be there for several months.
In addition to making rounds to assess and treat patients in the field hospital at Parque de la Industria, Dr. Kiehnle and partners are procuring medical equipment, medical supplies, hygiene products and food for distribution to medical facilities and to families in most need in several regions of Guatemala. It is all free to the recipients.
The Conscience International enlarged network of partners are currently:
Donating a Positive Pressure Respirator (similar to a ventilator) used for critical care patients, to the volunteer firefighters in San Marcos (on the border of Mexico and Guatemala)
- Taking food bags and medical supplies to a health care center in Concepción, Sololá, a Mayan community in the west of Guatemala
- Donating medical supplies to the Hospital Regional de Zacapa, a public hospital in the east of Guatemala
- Providing food and medical supplies in San Andrés Osuna, Escuintla, south of Guatemala, a community that only has one nurse to provide medical care for everyone
- Distributing food to Taxisco, Santa Rosa, south of Guatemala, where Conscience International is also building houses for a number of families that lost theirs in the Fuego volcano eruption in 2018
- Donating food and medical supplies to another NGO that provides food and education to low-income children from Chimaltenango, west of Guatemala City.
- Delivering food to a rural village in Retalhuleu, in the southwest region of Guatemala, also for free distribution.
Working in less than ideal conditions comes with other at-risk situations. “Wearing a bodysuit makes you sweat a lot and dehydration is very common,” Dr. Kiehnle reports. “There is no air conditioning” (neither for doctors or patients.) “Taking breaks to rehydrate “is essential,” Dr. Kiehnle said.