Saving Lives

   Rural Ambulance Program

 Rural Ambulance Program Documentary


GHP volunteers designed an emergency care protocol, suitable for a rural community and then trained local community volunteers from the village in this modified emergency care. The completion of the Rural Ambulance Program provided a vehicle suitable for the mountain roads (a Toyota 4-Runner pick up with camper shell, 4-wheel drive, and mountain terrain tires) as well as a siren, loudspeaker, and First Aid supplies. 


With the goal of sustainability, GHP partnered with the local government to place the details and regulations of the program into their constitution as a governmental “Act.” This Act was further supported by written approval from the Governor of the Department of San Marcos of Guatemala.


Currently GHP returns annually to oversee the program and train in new volunteers for the transport team. Thus allowing the ambulance to be managed on a day-to-day basis by the representatives of Pueblo Nuevo and surrounding communities, with additional support from local health workers (midwives, community nurses, and the police department from the city of Malacatan).

The goal of this program is to save lives and design a template other organizations might use to implement emergency systems in rural areas.

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Traditionally, in an emergency medical situation, the members of these rural communities in western Guatemala would not be able to afford private transportation to life-saving medical care. This left mothers, fathers and children vulnerable to disease and death.

In August 2009, Global Healthcare Project (GHP) led a Public Health Field Expedition of twenty pre-med students from UC Berkeley and Stanford University to the highlands of western Guatemala.  Together, they implemented the “Rural Ambulance Program.”

See below for our recognition in the PM Network Magazine

In addition the trained emergency transport team was provided with a handbook containing:

  1. *Program rules and regulations (determined by GHP and the community government)

  1. *A training guide for Emergency Responders to refer to for medical information

* Emergency Protocol/Diagram to understand the stages of the emergency response system and make the process efficient

PHOTO:  These communities are 3-4 hours from the nearest hospital and city ambulance vehicles can not drive on these roads, which is why it is important to implement an emergency response system with a 4 X 4 vehicle.

Saving Lives:

The first story of the Rural Ambulance making a difference.  This is Yohana Niz and her baby Cristel Mariana (at 11 months). Thanks to the GHP Ambulance’s emergency response, this mother and baby are alive and well. In January 2010, Yohana was giving birth to baby Cristel when she began to have complications.  When the midwife and mother realized there was nothing more that they could do, they called the GHP ambulance. A few hours later, Yohana gave birth to her healthy baby girl at the Malacatan National Hospital.

Thanks to the GHP Ambulance and their drivers there was someone to help her. Yohana called the ambulance at 5pm and arrived at the hospital shortly thereafter. If she had waited for a public pick up truck to take her to Malacatan she would have arrived at the hospital almost 12 hours later. Thanks to all of the hard work and dedication of the countless people who contributed to the “Ambulance Project” we are able to return to Pueblo Nuevo and hear these great success stories.

  GHP in the News!