Asociacion Manos Abiertas
Our mission is to offer a safe and welcoming environment where health services are provided for women by women, in a respectful and confidential manner without discrimination. We strive to treat the woman as a whole person, in an environment where she feels safe to express, think, and make decisions for herself. By increasing access to health care services for women, we seek to educate and raise awareness of a woman’s right to control her body and her reproduction, and address the following:
- Women's health – By educating women about the importance of pre- and post-natal care, family planning options and other reproductive health topics, we promote maternal health by empowering women to have safe pregnancies and limit or space their births as they so choose. Through offering humanized and natural birthing options, with all services supervised by professional midwives, women are provided with choices when it comes to their pregnancies and a safer option than they could otherwise afford at other health clinics in Guatemala. Additionally, we offer cervical and breast cancer screenings; information about and treatment for sexually-transmitted infections (STIs); a 24-hour emergency hotline; and mobile clinic services in rural areas; all with the goal of increasing access to health care for women.
- Child health – We provide comprehensive pediatric health care services to newborns and children and educate mothers on the importance of breastfeeding and proper nutrition for their developing child to help curb the alarmingly high rates of childhood malnutrition and deaths under 5 years of age in Guatemala. Through family planning services and education, women are able to space their births and health outcomes for infants improve. Also, when parents are able to choose the number and timing of their children, they can plan their families so that they have sufficient resources to invest in the health and nutrition of each child.
- Education – We place great importance on education and health literacy. All clinic interactions involve an educational component. We seek to not only treat our patients, but to empower them with information that they can apply to their lives, passing such knowledge onto members of their families and communities. The long-term impact, for example, of such education results in planned families where resources are invested in each child. In smaller families, children (especially girls) are more likely to attend school because parents can afford school costs and do not need older siblings to help care for younger siblings.
- Women’ s rights – Access to health care services, whether family planning, cervical cancer screening or STI treatment, gives women more power over their bodies, their lives, their relationships, and their futures.