Wuqu' Kawoq (Maya Health Alliance)

Over six months, nutrition technicians partner with families to develop personalized, sustainable care plans to support children’s growth and development.

Wuqu' Kawoq

Wuqu’ Kawoq, also known as Maya Health Alliance, works to deliver high-quality health care to Guatemala’s indigenous Maya people.

The organization was founded on January 1, 2007, a date known as “Wuqu’ Kawoq” on the traditional Mayan calendar, and which represents medicine and healthcare providers.

Guatemala’s income distribution is among the most unequal in the world. Women in Guatemala are ten times more likely than a woman in the United States to die during childbirth, and as many as 80% of children in rural communities suffer chronic malnutrition. Indigenous Mayan communities in particular lack access to health care — many live in remote areas and do not want to be treated in a hospital where no one speaks their language, or where they may not be treated with dignity.

Led by indigenous Maya, Wuqu’ Kawoq provides high quality health care to close to 10,500 patients in 35,000 visits per year to homes, clinics, and community centers in Guatemala’s Central Highlands. Community Health Workers provide care in the communities where patients live and in their primary languages.

Program areas include child health, chronic disease, maternal health, primary care, and women’s health.

Photo: Wuqu’ Kawoq nurse hiking to a village. © Wuqu’ Kawoq

Limited information and family pressures prevent most indigenous women in rural Guatemala from using effective family planning methods. Wuqu’ Kawoq’s community-based nurses provide education and access to a range of methods in women’s homes and local health centers.

Every year, Wuqu’ Kawoq provides reproductive health care, including modern contraception, to more than 5,000 women.

Photo Credit: Wuqu’ Kawoq

Did you know?

Wuqu’ Kawoq is one of the leading publishers of research in Guatemala, including a major study published in The Lancet Global Health that offers additional evidence pointing to the importance of providing healthcare in patients’ first languages.

Learn more about Wuqu' Kawoq in this Q&A!

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Wuqu’ Kawoq provides traditional midwives with a phone application and other tools to monitor mothers and babies throughout pregnancy. If a problem arises, the application alerts Wuqu’ Kawoq medical staff.

Closing health gaps in Mayan communities: Q&A with Wuqu' Kawoq

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