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Why were we There?

  • Social violence
  • Healthcare exclusion
  • Natural disasters

Our Work

Support for victims of sexual violence

  • In four years, the percentage of female patients seeking assistance at the Médecins Sans Frontières sexual violence treatment programme within 72 hours of being assaulted has increased from 17 to 64 per cent.
  • Timely treatment means patients can receive prophylactic medication to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
  • Now survivors of sexual violence are now able to receive medical attention before a crime is reported, and medical staff in public health facilities have begun to offer treatment.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières completed the handover of its programme to the Ministry of Health in 2012, having provided 24-hour services to victims of sexual violence since 2008.
  • Teams worked in five locations: a health centre and two clinics on the outskirts of Guatemala City, the emergency department of the city’s general hospital, and in the Public Ministry, where assaults are reported.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières also worked to influence policies and practices, including advocating the availability of 24-hour healthcare.
  • In 2010, the Ministry of Health adopted a national protocol on the treatment for victims of sexual violence, facilitating access to healthcare, and in 2011 asked Médecins Sans Frontières to train its staff to implement this protocol. 


Earthquake response

  • A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Guatemala’s Pacific coast on 7 November 2012, destroying hundreds of homes.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières donated medicines to health centres in affected districts of the department of San Marcos.
  • The team also provided psychological first aid – initial support and counselling in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event – to survivors suffering panic attacks.


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Médecins Sans Frontières has been working in the country since 1984