Guatemala is a country of 14 million people and 60% of the population is under the age of 21. With so many young people, it is estimated that close to 100 children each year will develop End Stage Renal Disease and require dialysis to survive. This also means that 500 children each year develop kidney disease at one stage or another and require renal care treatments to stay healthy.

dialysis machines donated
kidney professionals trained
treatments delivered each year

Mission Overviews

Partner: Fundanier

In 2009, DaVita Village Trust, through the Bridge of Life program, partnered with Fundanier (Foundation for Children with Kidney Disease) in Guatemala to establish the only pediatric dialysis clinic in the country located at the Theodore Roosevelt Hospital in Guatemala City. DaVita Village Trust returned in 2010 to install six refurbished dialysis machines at Fundanier, and helped to upgrade the clinic and expand the dialysis services. Once the upgrade and expansion was completed in March 2011, three volunteers of the Bridge of Life program assisted with the grand opening of the expanded nephrology services.

In May 2012, a team of five non-clinical Bridge of Life program volunteers worked with Fundanier to conduct the largest kidney disease screening in Latin America. 535 children were screened for kidney abnormalities and all children identified with kidney-related anomalies received follow-up treatment and care, including surgery if needed. The results of the study are being used to develop a national kidney disease intervention program that will help pediatricians and nephrologists reach children with kidney problems before the disease develops into end stage renal disease.

Later in August 2012, two volunteers from the Bridge of Life program returned to Guatemala City to assist with an educational dialysis technician training led by Fundanier. Seventy-five people were expected to participate; however, over 135 people from all over Guatemala attended the training, demonstrating how eager the kidney care technicians in Guatemala are to learn more about kidney disease and improved treatment methods.

In October 2014, the Bridge of Life program partnered with Fundanier to identify children at-risk for CKD who live in an impoverished community within the city and to offer the necessary education and prevention tools to avoid chronic renal failure. According to statistics, in Guatemala approximately 100 children should be identified annually with CKD. Currently, on average, 50 children are actually identified, indicating that half of the children suffering from CKD never receive the necessary treatment. On October 23, families from the Tierra Nueva community lined up before 8:00 a.m. to receive screenings for their children. Together, the DaVita Village Trust team and Fundanier screened 475 children, and of those children, 197 were requested to attend a second phase of screenings due to abnormalities in their blood or urine tests. These children returned the next day and received glomerular filtration rate and urine sediment testing as well as ultrasounds of their kidneys. As a result, 15 children showed significant signs of kidney impairment and were referred to a specialist to receive the treatment they need to live a long, healthy life!

Partner: National Hospital Pedro de Betancourt

In 2011, DaVita Village Trust, through the Bridge of Life program, helped to establish a new four-station acute unit at the National Hospital Pedro de Betancourt in San Felipe, Guatemala.

One of five families with children on dialysis will have to make the painful decision to let a son or daughter die because they do not have the money to continue treatments.

Dr. Randall Lou-Meda
Pediatric Nephrologist
Theodore Roosevelt Hospital, Guatemala City, Guatemala

Guatemala 2014 Enhancing Care Mission

Guatemala 2014 CKD Screening Mission

Guatemala 2012 Training Mission

Guatemala 2012 Screening Mission

Guatemala 2011