Palajunoj Valley, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
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Primeros Pasos is a non-profit, independent organization with a comprehensive outlook on health care. With the collaboration of health professionals, health educators, volunteers, and community leaders, Primeros Pasos offers quality and affordable health care and health education to the rural, underserved communities of the Palajunoj Valley of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Primeros Pasos incorporates and combines clinical care, health education, and community outreach programs to effectively provide preventative and primary care.
In 2002, Guatemalan and US students and physicians revitalized an abandoned clinic in Tierra Colorada Baja, combining health education with clinical care to address the high rates of childhood malnutrition and diarrheal diseases in surrounding communities. Between June and November 2002, free medical services, medications, and basic health education classes were provided to over 1,000 children from local elementary schools. In 2004, the project became known as Primeros Pasos. The clinic and its staff continue to expand its reach into the Valley, developing new programs and services and identifying community health trends.
Primeros Pasos remains the only comprehensive and affordable source of local health care in the Palajunoj Valley and has expanded its programs to include pediatric and adult medical, dental, and laboratory services. The organization also offers health education classes year-round to participating schools and community groups.