The hardworking, highly passionate team at ASSADE has taken great strides in providing critical health care services to rural indigenous communities in their region of Guatemala. One of ASSADE’s most impressive accomplishments of late has been to achieve an ambitious and important goal they set for themselves: to make their Dental Clinic completely self-reliant and financially sustainable.

In just three years’ time, they attained this goal through real dedication, along with careful and innovative planning. First, they implemented a sliding fee scale at the Dental Clinic, charging those who could afford it minimal fees for services. Second, with GoPhil support, they expanded their Communitarian Oral Health Project, and through the Communitarians’ rural outreach, brought many more clients in to the clinic for services. Not only did these changes and efforts achieve self-sustainability for the Dental Clinic, they also successfully funded the salary of their Director of Prevention Projects, Community Education & Development – a key position which was previously supported by our GoPhil community.

ASSADE achieved another exciting milestone this past year when they purchased cryotherapy and state-of-the-art ultrasound machines, helping the Women’s Reproductive Health Program to prevent, diagnose and treat common, local health problems like cervical cancer, and save more lives than ever before. In Guatemala, cervical cancer is the first cause of cancer deaths in women and ASSADE has found that the prevalence of cancer cells in their female patients directly correlates to high rates of HPV (the highest in Central America). ASSADE’s program benefits nearly 700 women each year, including early detection of HPV, and almost 200 adolescents each year, delivering public health education around STD and teen pregnancy prevention.

Now that ASSADE has this equipment up and running, they are developing a new initiative focused on prevention through reproductive health education. They have identified a major need for this type of service in the more rural, indigenous communities surrounding San Andrés de Itzapa, where many young girls lack understanding of basic reproductive health – many don’t even know how pregnancy occurs. The goal is to get more girls and women into the clinic to take advantage of the new equipment, while reducing or eliminating early and childhood pregnancies in the targeted communities. We look forward to sharing more about this program once it is off the ground.

We are incredibly proud of the ASSADE team for following through on these very important goals, ensuring their ability to serve their community in San Andrés de Itzapa for years to come!

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