(Portland, OR) December 8, 2020—Medical Teams International is pleased to announce that it has been granted $1.35 million from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance for its COVID-19 emergency preparedness and response in Guatemala.

The $1.35 million, plus an additional $50,000 in private funding, will support Medical Teams’ work in a severely impacted suburb, Mixco, just outside of Guatemala City. The Mixco municipality has one of the nation’s highest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and currently no other NGOs are responding to the disease there. Medical Teams aims to reach nearly 126,000 people, and its six-month project will run from August 2020 through January 2021.

Medical Teams’ work will primarily consist of community health messaging and outreach to households affected by COVID-19 in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). This will include improved access to communication, surveillance, and case management, in addition to the continuity of essential health services. The work will be accomplished through water trucking, handwashing stations, and hygiene kit distribution, as well as health systems strengthening through training of local health workers and PPE distribution in nine health facilities.

“This grant comes at a critically important time for health workers and all Guatemalans as they battle the spread of COVID-19,” said Martha Newsome, President and CEO of Medical Teams International.

“The people and communities of Mixco are particularly vulnerable, and Medical Teams is grateful for this significant investment in our work and for the opportunity to serve the region’s most vulnerable.”

Guatemala reported its first confirmed COVID-19 cases in March 2020. There are currently more than 41,000 cases in Guatemala and more than 1,500 deaths. The health system in Guatemala is at risk of collapse, due to such factors as underfunding, lack of staff, an ineffective referral system and supply chain, and poor access to basic health and WASH services. Moreover, 15-20 percent of Guatemala’s COVID-19 cases are critical, requiring oxygen and advanced respiratory support.

Medical Teams International has been working in Guatemala since 2008 and in the indigenous communities in the Quiche Department since 2013. It has an existing footprint and strong relationships with the Ministry of Health to scale up activities to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Medical Teams has already been actively training health care workers, providing supportive supervision, and rolling out risk communication and surveillance activities in Quiche Department for COVID-19.


See Our COVID-19 Response


About Medical Teams International

Founded in 1979, Medical Teams International provides life-saving medical care for people in crisis, such as survivors of natural disasters and refugees. We care for the whole person— physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Daring to love like Jesus, we serve all people—regardless of religion, nationality, sex or race. Learn more at medicalteams.org and on social media using @medicalteams.