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Investing in Midwife Training Can Help Improve Birth Outcomes

By Chrysula Winegar

March 14, 2016

Women living in poverty, often isolated indigenous communities in Guatemala, usually give birth at home – 62 percent of women in these rural areas have no skilled birth attendant with them at this most critical time.

Every Mother Counts is investing in solutions to change birth outcomes for these most at risk women. They have recently made a grant to Asociación Corazón del Agua in Guatemala which will be used to train 15 women from those districts with the highest rates of mothers dying from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. These 15 women will become professional midwives and the grant from Every Mother Counts will directly impact 7,520 lives over the next three years.

Guatemala was one of four countries highlighted in the documentary No Woman No Cry. The film led to the creation of Every Mother Counts and powerfully shares stories of mothers from Tanzania, Guatemala, Bangladesh and the United States. The families in the film are united by lack of access to safe, affordable birth and pregnancy care options, making them at much higher risk for complications and death.

One of the most exciting elements of this program in Guatemala is the 15 women are from the indigenous communities they will be caring for. The 3-year program will incorporate indigenous traditions for pregnant and birthing women. Students will be sponsored by a traditional birth attendant from the community, so they can work with them to see patients during academic breaks and share local knowledge.

The graduates will be receiving Guatemala’s first professional midwifery degrees from the Galileo University of Guatemala City.

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Go to www.EveryMotherCounts.org to learn more about their work and why Every Mother Counts founder, model and filmmaker Christy Turlington Burns is so committed to ending preventable deaths for women from childbirth and pregnancy complications.

Lead photo courtesy Every Mother Counts

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