Guatemalans suffer from some of the worst health outcomes in the world.  Besides lack of access to quality care, particularly in rural areas, Guatemala is a country severely affected by malnutrition. Roughly 49% of all children in Guatemala under the age of 5 years are chronically malnourished [1,2]. This is the highest prevalence in Latin America and the fourth highest prevalence in the world [3].  In addition, the Guatemalan Ministry of Health has recently reported that 98% of the country’s water sources are contaminated. [4]

Due to these aforementioned factors, Guatemalan children are extremely vulnerable to parasitic infections, malnutrition, stunted development, anaemia and other life-threatening conditions [5]. In fact 25% of all deaths in Guatemala are attributable to infant mortality.  Health outcomes are particularly bad in the predominantly indigenous Western Highlands.

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[1] Benson Agriculture and Food Institute (1999) Diagnostic: Assessing the Food and Nutrition Situation in Rural Guatemala. (accessed October 2006).
[2] World Food Programme (2006) Projected 2006 Needs for World Food Programme Projects and Operations: Guatemala. (accessed May 2010).
[3] UNICEF (2006) The State of the World’s Children 2006. (accessed October 2006).
[4] UNICEF (2005) The Big Picture: Guatemala. Press Release. New York: UNICEF.
[5] World Health Organization (2006) International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health problems. (accessed May 2010).