Mission: Guatemala

Mission Facts

  • Location: Guatemala City, Guatemala

  • Population: 1,022,000

  • Dates: 07/22/2017 - 07/28/2017

  • Surgeons: Dr. Ayal Willner

  • Focus: ENT

  • Complexity: Low - Medium

  • Training: Low

  • Average Mended: 60

Mission Brief

Where in the World
Guatemala is located in Central America and is one of the poorest countries in all of Latin America. It is bordered by Mexico to the north and El Salvador and Honduras to the south. Guatemala has a population of 15,824,463 people, 56.2% of which live below the national poverty line. 36% of the entire population are children below the age of 14. 40.5% of the population is made up by the indigenous community, facing harsh socioeconomic inequalities to this day.

Healthcare in Guatemala
Guatemala has some of the highest infant mortality rate and lowest life expectancies in the Central American region. Many Guatemalans lack access to healthcare services, as there are currently only 16,000 physicians for the entire population.

The Children
Our young patients come from all over Guatemala, some enduring long walks out of their mountain villages to reach roads in order to get rides into the capital and the Moore Pediatric Center. Current research has not yet confirmed why so many Guatemalan children have congenital birth defects, but suspicions lie in some genetic corn strains that block the absorption of folic acid. Unmet surgical care can contribute to the various diseases children die young from, and better perioperative care for those who are lucky enough to receive surgeries could improve the overall survival rate of these children.

The Mission
The Mending Kids mission to Guatemala each year is a shining example of our on-going commitment to provide life-changing and life-saving help to the children of a nation still recovering from a civil war nearly 20 years ago and a country where nearly half of its population is under the age of 18.

In 2014, Mending Kids deployed two ENT missions to Guatemala City, the following year, Mending Kids deployed a multi-specialized team of ENT and Plastics surgeons, led by otolaryngologists Dr. Ayal Willner, Dr. Nina Yoshpe and Dr. McCoy “Mac” Moretz of F.A.C.E. of Beverly Hills. These surgeons and their dedicated team mended 105 children in just one week!

This was largest number of surgeries ever performed at The Moore Pediatric Surgery Center in one week and the largest number of surgeries performed on any Mending Kids mission. In November 2016, the team returned to again provide 102 children with life-changing and life-saving ENT corrective surgery. In July and October 2017, we will send two more missions to continue providing life-changing and life-saving surgeries for children in need of these procedures.

To expand the clinical training of on-site providers, to create partnerships with satellite clinics to enhance pre-op and post-op care, to expand the scope to include higher complexity surgical cases such as congenital anomalies, and to continue the training until self-sustainment has been established without the need for assistance from missions such as ours.

Interested Volunteers
Non-surgical team volunteers are currently being recruited for this mission. If you are interested in volunteering, review our FAQ section (click the Get Involved tab, then Mission Volunteer button) and then contact molly@mendingkids.org. The team fee for this mission is $3000 and will require a deposit of $500 to hold your spot.

Join our team by donating now to help kids in Guatemala receive specialty care for much needed Ear, Nose and Throat surgery.

Mission Map