Why are we there?

  • Social violence
  • Health care exclusion
  • Natural disasters

Our work

This is an extract from MSF-USA's 2012 Annual Report:

In Guatemala, MSF focused its work on victims of sexual violence, bringing medical care and outreach to an often overlooked group. MSF handed over its program to the MOH in 2012, but not before it had provided medical and psychological care, along with social assistance, to some 4,000 people in five locations, including the emergency department of the city’s general hospital and in the Public Ministry, where assaults are reported.

MSF also advocated on behalf of victims of sexual violence. There is now 24-hour health care available, and survivors of sexual violence can get medical attention before a crime is reported. Far more of the people coming to MSF facilities were coming within 72 hours of being assaulted, as is advisable, and medical staff in public health facilities (many trained by MSF) now offer treatment as well.

Additionally, MSF donated medicines and provided counseling in San Marcos department after an earthquake destroyed hundreds of home the Pacific Coast area in November.

At the end of 2012, MSF had 23 staff in Guatemala. MSF has been working in the country since 1984.

Patient story

Claudia, 17 years old

I was on my way to class, I was going to do my practical work, when they made me get into the car. They abducted and attacked me. They left me with only my trousers and shirt.

My mother’s friend told us about a hospital we could go to. We went there and spoke with a woman. That’s how we got in contact with MSF for the first time.

I think the hardest time of all was the moment I discovered I was pregnant. I remember the first day I put on maternity trousers and I cried so hard. I was ashamed to be seen outside. Some people helped me, but lots of people blamed me and said bad things about me. So I got angry … angry with them … angry with God who let this happen to me.

This has been a long, difficult and often bitter journey. I don’t think the government is paying the attention it should to sexual abuse. It’s not because it isn’t happening – it’s because they pay more attention to killers, as their crimes are more visible and everyone knows it’s happening.

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