Stories of Impact

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Pharma Program At Work In Guatemala

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Doña Eulogia Barrillas might not be alive if not for a neighbor who took her to the hospital.

Barrillas, an elderly woman, was living alone in rural Guatemala and in extreme party when she started to feel ill. She knew something was wrong. Lab results and assessments from healthcare workers at Hospital Regional de Cuilapa revealed Barrillas was right—she had high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is not an anomaly in America, where nearly half the population has been diagnosed with the condition. A similar statistic is likely true in Guatemala, but the country’s lack of screening equipment and pharmaceuticals hinders diagnoses. To relieve symptoms of headaches and shortness of breath, doctors rely on anti-hypertensive medications.

Roughly 88% of Americans who know they have high blood pressure take medication for it. The same cannot be said in Guatemala, where anti-hypertensives are in short supply. Without access to medical care, Guatemalans not only suffer from immediate physical discomfort, but they also have a greater risk of heart attack and stroke.

Barrillas needed medication to control her high blood pressure, but the hospital did not have any in supply. A social worker made arrangements for Barrillas to stay at an assisted living facility where her health could be monitored. Shortly thereafter, a truck arrived with pharmaceuticals and medical supplies donated by Brother’s Brother Foundation. Barrillas was given enough medication for her initial treatment plan at no cost.

“Doña Eulogia now lives at the assisted living facility along with 20 other women her age and her prescriptions have been filled, thanks to Food For The Poor’s caring donor Brother’s Brother Foundation,” Byron Paredes, Food For The Poor’s in-country representative, said.

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