“Medical Missions has two ‘M’s. Of these two, I believe ‘Missions’ is the bigger part…” – Carolina Noriega, awardee for the Global Excellence Award that will be presented by the Brilliant Minded Women Organization at their 2022 Annual Gala on November 12th.
Carolina’s story is nothing short of inspirational! Dr. Juan Pablo and Carolina’s efforts focus on providing quality healthcare to the community of Nebaj in Guatemala. JP and Carolina managed to create sustainability in their efforts. In addition to a hospital for the community, they have also started a church, a hospital lab, and two auxiliary nursing schools (with over 1000 graduates!).
Faith in Action
Carolina was born in Guatemala, where she continues to live today. She studied microbiology in Guatemala City and moved with her husband to Nebaj; a mountainous region hit hard by the civil war in the 1990s. Together, they had the vision to provide a higher level of medical care and to start a clinic for the indigenous people.
When she moved to Nebaj, Carolina experienced great hardship and tension when connecting with the community. These people showed limited trust following their history of being used by opposing sides during the civil war in the 1990s (the guerrilla factions and the government forces). Despite these challenges, Carolina continued to work, love, and serve the people of Nebaj. In 2007, she created a lab for the clinic, which, together with other factors, enabled the clinic to become fully self-sufficient after five years. Through the clinic and her lab, the initiative provides affordable care to people. As the demand grew, Carolina had the idea to train a volunteer as an auxiliary nurse. This volunteer became the first nurse from over 1000 auxiliary nurses that would pass through the auxiliary nursing school they founded in 2010.
The Birth of a Hospital
Juan Pablo and Carolina approached ImpactHope in 2014 with a proposal to address the issue of infant mortality in the region by building a maternity ward and offering training for midwives. Eventually, it became clear that our efforts needed to be planned on a larger scale. Plans for a full-fledged hospital were developed, and since 2015, ImpactHope has been actively involved in constructing a new hospital building. This is a 40+ bed facility, a USD 3 million project to serve the people in the area. This Hospital, Servicios Medicos Vida y Esperanza, is currently running and accepting patients, providing healthcare and dental care while the new building is being built! Healthcare initiatives include medical consultation, clinical laboratory, care for the bedridden, ultrasound and X-ray services, food assistance for low-income families, education for workers’ children, and activities in the Cristo Salva church.
Video: Carolina’s Appreciation for the Award
Today, Carolina oversees the construction of the USD 3 million hospital building, the laboratory, and a home school for her and the hospital staff’s children so that they may gain a high-quality education. Carolina’s strong Christian faith pushes her to serve the patients and community members that connect with her.
About Brilliant Minded Women Foundation:
Since 2014, the Brilliant Minded Women Organization has been recognizing and acknowledging women of substance to inspire generations to come. As a charitable extension, the Brilliant Minded Women Foundation was created in 2016 to advanced post-secondary education by providing scholarships and bursaries to female students throughout Canada. The Brilliant Minded Women Organization intends to celebrate outstanding Women who have made significant contributions to society at their 7th Annual Awards Gala, a prestigious event scheduled for the 12th of November, 2022.
The Nebaj Impact
Watch an excerpt from a documentary made on the hospital in Nebaj, where Carolina shares her experiences. Watch the whole video on our youtube channel here.
With the help of several Teams serving through ImpactHope, a lot of construction work was completed before Covid-19 hit. Electrical work was also completed throughout the whole building! A generator was recently procured to provide electricity for the entire building.
As the new hospital is being built, the next phase entails purchasing medical equipment and other construction costs, totalling up to $300,000 CDN. The immediate need is the purchase of an X-ray machine. You can help us reach the goal of $180,000 for this equipment!