Facing a Giant: How HLH Works to Impact the Drug Shortage in Guatemala

Welcome back! We have been talking in depth about the challenges Guatemalans face in terms of healthcare access and health outcomes due to the drug shortage. The last blog focused on some of the main reasons behind the shortage, and you can find it here. This week we are sharing our vision as an organization and what we do to help.

The drug shortage is an incredibly large and complex issue. It is overwhelming even trying to understand the causes behind this problem, much less how it can be remedied. There are so many branches of causation to account for, and several exacerbating factors that have their own webs of cause and effect. As I detailed in the last blog, there are historical, governmental, cultural and circumstantial components at play, so there is simply no easy fix. Any approach to solving this problem requires a multifaceted outlook with much expertise.

As an organization of undergraduate university students, we are acutely aware of the largeness of this issue, and our own restrictions to respond to it. We are only part way through our education, we have limited resources and limited time. We are powerless to affect the policies, frameworks and other factors that cause the shortage in Guatemala. So, because we recognize our inadequacy to enact wholesome solutions, we instead find our purpose in working at the level of supply. We think and advocate at the level of medical clinics, schools and orphanages that are doing their best to provide quality care. We aid healthcare facilities in securing the supplies and medications that they need.

To do this we collaborate with other like-minded organizations, and we raise awareness to let people know what is happening and how they can be involved in the effort to provide help. Most importantly, we raise the funds that are lacking and use them to assist healthcare facilities in providing for the communities they serve.

Preparing a purchase of 27,500 children’s vitamins for transport to Guatemala with a Calgary mission team

Our mission is to help healthcare facilities in Guatemala increase their medical care capacities by bearing some of the burden of regular and timely procurement of medications and supplies.

Impact Ministries was our very first partner organization. They serve the community of Tac Tic in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. They run an amazing school, church and medical clinic through which they impact the lives of so many Guatemalans. As vitamins are difficult to procure within the country, our current work focuses on securing daily vitamins for the children in their school. We raise the funds, make the purchases from suppliers in North America and send them down to Guatemala either with mission teams or via a shipping company.

Adorable students from the Impact Ministries’ School taking daily vitamins donated by HLH!

At HLH we believe that through unrelenting determination to find our place and do our part, we can make an impact on this grave issue Guatemala faces and be a part of saving lives. Our vision is to see medical facilities and healthcare professionals empowered to serve and provide care to their fullest ability, not restricted by a lack of medications. We think about every family that has lost a child amid hopelessness due to inadequate medication, about every baby that has suffered unnecessarily and we are driven to never give up.

We have to hear those little heartbeats, and never stop listening.

If this issue resonates with you, we need your help! Please spread the word, share the message, and give. In order to supply Guatemalan clinics with the medications they need, we need our generous supporters and we are so grateful for you!

The mission of WHEF is to increase accessibility to medications and supplies for healthcare facilities in Guatemala and Grenada. If you are interested in hearing more about the work we are doing, or in connecting with us, you can visit our website, check out our instagram or facebook, or sign up to receive our newletters. If you would like to support us in our work, please donate here.

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