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Safe Motherhood

The Safe Motherhood Project

Safe Motherhood GuatemalaWhat We Do

The Safe Motherhood Project is an educational program to train traditional Mayan midwives ( Camadronas) in safe birthing techniques and emergency skills in caring for women who have their babies at home.  We have a team of 3 skilled Guatemalan midwives who do the bulk of the teaching using a hands-on approach. We conduct 5 day courses, training 30 camadronas or paramedics.  The course has been very well received and each year there are  more communities requesting the course. So far, we have gone to over 15 villages to teach.  The Canadian team visits once a year ( at their own expense)  to provide refresher courses and monitor the project.

Why this Project is Important

High maternal mortality is a concern for the Mayan women of Guatemala. Hemorrhage, high blood pressure and eclampsia, and infection are the major causes of death of women in childbirth. Seventy percent of Mayan women give birth at home under the care of a traditional midwife, who in many cases has had no formal education or training. In these rural highlands, the closest hospital is often several hours away. Evidence shows that outcomes for pregnant women are better if they are assisted by skilled attendants during childbirth. This is why the course we offer is vital to helping decrease the number of maternal deaths in rural Guatemala.

Future Plans

Our vision is to continue with the training of traditional midwives, as well as to further train others to teach our course. This course not only teaches skills but also empowers  marginalized women. We work with public health clinics and hospitals to enhance communication between health care professionals and traditional midwives, with very positive results. Our project is  supported by local government.