Improving Maternal and Child Health
During recent decades, a number of problems have compromised the effectiveness of Guatemala’s public health sector. The result is a fragmented, inefficient system that fails to provide an equal level of health services to all Guatemalans. The country’s recent political instability has brought these problems into sharper focus.
Guatemala ranks as the largest country and economy in Central America, with over 15 million inhabitants, more than half of whom live in poverty. Guatemala’s population is roughly equally divided between urban and rural areas, yet large disparities persist in economic development, access to health services, and health statistics. Rural areas, composed mainly of indigenous peoples, fare much worse than their urban counterparts.
The biggest health issues are concentrated primarily among the poor and indigenous in Guatemala’s Western Highlands, with high rates of malnutrition, stunting, and maternal / newborn mortality. International Needs is focusing in this region, which receives the lowest levels of total health spending per capita.
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