August 18 02:48 PM
Responding to the needs of migrants and people living with chronic kidney disease
MSF provides medical services at a shelter set up for people affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano
On May 5, 2023, the Fuego volcano erupted. On the same day, more than 1,000 people were evacuated from surrounding communities. In response to a call from the authorities, MSF arrived in Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, Escuintla, to provide support to some 400 evacuees. At the emergency shelter, our team provided more than 80 medical consultations to children and older adults, as well as psychological first aid, especially to children and women of childbearing age.
After assessing the emotional situation of the people, the psychology staff and educators developed activities of instruction, active listening, emotion management and emotional discharge, especially aimed at the younger population.
In response to the needs identified, MSF delivered personal hygiene kits to 125 people and packages of disposable diapers to mothers with children under 5 years of age. As the volcano's activity has returned to normal, MSF teams have completed their support.
Our work in Guatemala
In Guatemala, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continues to run a project providing care for people with chronic kidney disease, as well as activities to support migrants transiting the country.
What's happening in Guatemala?
Since 2021, we have been focusing on our Mesoamerican nephropathy* project to strengthen the response to non-traditional chronic kidney disease. According to data from the Ministry of Health, there are more than 10,000 patients undergoing renal function replacement treatment in Guatemala—a country with one of the highest death rates from chronic kidney failure in the Americas (14 per ever 100,000).
*Nephropathy is the deterioration of kidney function
How we're helping in Guatemala
Our teams worked in three municipalities in Escuintla department, an area almost entirely given over to large-scale plantations. The main activities of the project are early detection, treatment, mental health and social support, and palliative care. We also run health promotion and education activities to increase knowledge of the disease and promote prevention measures in communities.
Guatemala is also a hotspot for migration flows in Central America. Thousands of people transit the country every day on their way north towards Mexico and the US, or returning to their home countries after being deported.
In 2022, we sent two mobile teams to different sites in San Marcos and Huehuetenango departments, where we provided medical and psychological care, health promotion, and social support to migrants.
At the end of the year, we started to offer these same mobile services in Ciudad Tecún Umán, a city close to the border with Mexico, working at the bus station, the migrants’ shelter, and the center for returnees. Like all MSF activities in Mexico and Central America, the project has a strong advocacy component, mainly targeting repressive US migration policies and calling for greater access to care, particularly mental health services, and protection from violence for migrants.
How we're helping
Individual mental health consultations
*Data from MSF International Activity Report 2022