Stories of Impact

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Antibiotics Save Teen in Guatemala Diagnosed with Pneumonia


Ruben could have easily been another statistic. The teen who lives in El Jicaro, a rural village 2.5 hours northeast of Guatemala City, was battling a severe case of pneumonia and his condition was deteriorating. 

Lower respiratory infections are a leading cause of death in Guatemala, a problem exacerbated by the country’s widespread poverty and malnutrition. 

Poverty in Guatemala’s Indigenous Communities
Nearly 80% of Guatemala’s indigenous population lives below the poverty line, according to the United Nations. Many of these indigenous communities live in rural villages in the northern part of the country, where people work as day laborers on local farms and large plantations. Backbreaking work earns workers between $1 to $3 each day. 

Once the harvest season ends, opportunities to earn money become scant and laborers begin searching for odd jobs, such as washing their neighbors’ laundry or traveling long distances to sell household items in the city. 

Intervening with life-saving medications
Ruben’s story has a happy ending, despite facing extreme poverty. His parents took him to a clinic in Guastatoya, a city 40 minutes from their hometown, where he was admitted for six weeks and given antibiotics. The treatment likely saved his life. 

The clinic received the antibiotics from a shipment of pharmaceuticals donated by Brother’s Brother Foundation. Asociación Amigos por la Salud y la Vida, a non-profit organization that works on the ground in Guatemala, distributed the thousands of bottles of amoxicillin and azithromycin–in addition to prednisone and other medications used to treat inflammation—to 66 medical facilities in rural communities throughout the country.  

Many of the patients who visit these clinics are receiving medical care for the first time in their lives—and it may very well save them.  

BBF thanks Cross Catholic Outreach for their partnership with this shipment. 

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