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President Obama's ambitious Global Health Initiative — announced to a receptive international community in 2009 — is faltering as budget constraints and shaky implementation limit the impact of the multibillion-dollar program.

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A baby sleeps in a hammock in Rio Dulce, about 110 miles northeast of Guatemala City. Guatemala is one of the countries that are part of U.S. President Barack Obama's Global Health Initiative. (Eitan Abramovich /AFP/Getty Images)

Healing the world: Guatemala

A snapshot of Guatemala's health challenges and the aims of the Global Health Initiative.

WASHINGTON — Here’s a fact-based snapshot of Guatemala, one of the eight countries that the U.S. government has spotlighted in its initial work through the Global Health Initiative:


Total GHI spending:
FY 2009: $14 million
FY 2010: $14.6 million

Total population: 14 million
GDP per capita: $2,848

Percentage of births attended by a doctor or nurse: 51.3
Chronic malnutrition among rural population: 59 percent

Major health concerns in the country:
1) Very high maternal and infant mortality in rural, indigenous areas
2) Serious malnutrition and stunting in rural, indigenous areas

GHI's main goals: Help Guatemala overcome longstanding inequalities by extending health services, including food distribution, to rural and hard-to-reach areas; reduce maternal mortality, child mortality and child malnutrition all by about one-third by 2014

GHI on the ground: GHI funding will help the Guatemalan government continue some of the programs it already has in place to reach rural Guatemalans. One program provides conditional cash payments to women in exchange for maternal and child health visits, and another one contracts nonprofits to set up clinics in remote areas.

(Sources: CIA; GHI country strategy documents; Kaiser Family Foundation; UN;

Funding for this project is provided by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation as part of its U.S. Global Health Policy program.