Santiago Quim is a community health facilitator in the community of Santa Elen Secacao, municipality of Senahú, department of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.
Santiago recognized an emergency that required intervention: his patient was experiencing prolonged labor, and she had the risk factor of multiple previous births. It took an hour and a half on foot and another half hour by car to reach the nearest service, the municipal Health Center in San Antonio Senahú. Santiago’s quick decision saved the life of the mother and her healthy baby.
There is nothing outwardly special about Santiago Quim: a man getting on in years, with little formal medical education. Nothing one would immediately see as a resource for maternal and infant health. But Santiago knows his community intimately and he is dedicated to it. Most importantly, thanks to TulaSalud Santiago has received the training and integration into the formal health system to make him an effective front line worker.
There are many, many stories like Santiago’s–some much more dramatic–in rural Guatemala, elsewhere in Latin America, in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. Community Health Workers, serving their communities and saving lives. We salute them.