Children's Health

Children's Health

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Lack of Healthcare Infrastructure

The World Health Organization reports only 57% of Guatemalans have access to essential healthcare services. The problem disproportionately affects rural and indigenous communities due to geographical remoteness, poverty, and a shortage of healthcare facilities and professionals. As a result, many Guatemalan children don’t receive the preventive care and treatment they need to stay healthy.

Lack of Healthcare Infrastructure

Mortality Rate Drops But A High Number of Deaths Are Easily Preventable

Guatemalan children face significant health challenges due to the lack of infrastructure in the country. FFTP works with the government to address the root causes of malnutrition and reduce the impact of preventable or treatable diseases. In recent years, Guatemala has made significant progress, and the under-five mortality rate has dropped by nearly 70% since 1990. But there’s still much work to be done.


The Juan Pablo II Maternal and Child Hospital—a non-governmental, not-for-profit public hospital located in Guatemala City—is our most expansive healthcare initiative in Guatemala. We collaborate closely with the Ministry of Health to provide high-quality, timely, and comprehensive healthcare to children and adolescents from 0 to 17 years of age in over 20 pediatric specialties. The hospital also serves women of all ages in maternity, gynecology, and obstetrics, offering various family services. There was a critical need for expansion.

  • In 2019, the hospital provided outpatient clinic services to more than 125,000 children ages 0 to 17—a 15% growth in patient visits from the year before.
  • Its 30 pediatrics clinics benefit vulnerable Guatemalan patients, 45% of whom come from rural areas without access to specialized and quality medical care.
  • Clinics receive an average of 350 daily visits and are always overcrowded.

We’re working to expand services at the Juan Pablo II Maternal and Child Hospital by building a third level to provide additional low-cost—or no-cost—medical care to patients from underserved communities.

The new space will accommodate more outpatient services, including an expanded dentistry department, while a new diagnostic laboratory will offer additional services, such as hearing screenings. The project is an investment in both infrastructure and well-being.


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Issues addressed in the Children's Health Program


  • In Guatemala, 47% of children under five suffer from malnutrition
  • Chronic malnutrition leads to stunted growth, impaired cognitive function, and increased disease risk

Infectious Diseases

  • Respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, and vector-borne illnesses, such as dengue fever and Zika virus, are the leading causes of death among Guatemalan children under five
  • Respiratory infections account for 22% of all deaths for children under five/li>
  • Diarrheal diseases account for 10% of all deaths of children under five

Maternal and Infant Mortality

  • Guatemala has one of the highest maternal and child mortality rates in Latin America due to a lack of prenatal and postnatal care and skilled birth attendants
  • The maternal mortality rate in Guatemala is 96 deaths per 100,000 live births
  • Infant mortality rate totals 26 deaths per 1,000 live births

Trauma Caused by Violence

  • Many Guatemalan children are exposed to high levels of violence, including domestic and gang-related
  • One in three Guatemalan children experiences physical violence and one in five experiences sexual violence

Child Labor and Exploitation

  • Many children work in hazardous conditions
  • 12% of children aged 5-17 are engaged in economic activity

Education and Health Literacy

  • Health literacy rates are relatively low, particularly among women and indigenous populations
  • Only 65% of mothers know the signs and symptoms of pneumonia, a leading cause of death among children under five