Ten Year Anniversary!

This February will mark the 10th anniversary of our Safe Motherhood Project in Guatemala. We are a team of volunteers consisting of three Canadian health care workers and three Guatemalan midwives. Since 2003, we have been teaching Mayan Comadronas (traditional birth attendants) emergency birthing skills in various villages in the department of Solola.

In rural Guatemala 70% of women have their babies at home attended by a Comadrona. Canada is fortunate to have a low maternal mortality rate of 8 deaths per 100,000 live births. Although Guatemala reports an annual maternal mortality rate of 150 deaths per 100,000 live births, the maternal mortality rate in rural Guatemala is actually much higher at 350 deaths per 100.000 live births. The primary cause of death is hemorrhage, second is eclampsia (a syndrome of high blood pressure and seizures), and third is infection. In the rural highlands, geography prevents easy access to medical care and even if a woman makes it to a hospital, her family often must seek out and purchase the medicines necessary for her care. The availability of emergency transport is inconsistent village to village. Therefore providing Comadronas with some skills and knowledge about the risks of pregnancy is essential to saving mothers’ lives.

This year courses will be conducted on the edge of Lake Atitlan from February 20 to March 2. Donations are always welcome. Your donation goes towards educational materials and birthing supplies. We also provide a daily meal and snack for each student. To date we have taught 450 women and anticipate teaching another 50 to 60 women this year. It is a reason to celebrate!

If you would like to help this project go for another ten years, please make a donation through Canada Helps. Please select “Safe Motherhood” from the drop down menu.

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