Success Story: URC Project Training Saves a Mother's Life

Santa Cruz Barillas, Western Highlands, Guatemala  In this rural community—far from institutional birth care—traditional midwives usually assist deliveries at the mothers' homes.

Fortunately for Maruquita (a mother of eight), Nurse Pedro was assisting her birth when she suffered postpartum hemorrhage. The nurse saved the mother's life by applying techniques he learned through training in the care of obstetric complications provided by the Nutri-Salud: Community Nutrition and Health Project.

Empowering communities to improve maternal and child health

Guatemala's maternal mortality rate, 140 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, is a hurdle for the country's development. The high rate derives from several factors, such as poverty; distance to a health facility; low education and women's status; and cultural beliefs and practices during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum.

In the last five years in this country, 61.8% of births in rural areas occurred at the mother's home, assisted by a traditional midwife. Acknowledging this fact, Nutri-Salud, in coordination with the Guatemalan Ministry of Health and a local NGO, provided training in the active management of the third stage of labor to professional and auxiliary nurses.

About Nutri-Salud

Nutri-Salud: Community Nutrition and Health Care Project, a five-year (2012–2017) project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and managed by URC, aims to improve the nutrition and health of women and children in 30 municipalities in five departments of Guatemala's Western Highlands, where the population is predominantly rural and indigenous Maya.

The project has three major objectives: 1) improve the nutritional status of women of reproductive age and children under five, with a focus on the 1,000 Day Window of Opportunity; 2) strengthen, at the community level, essential maternal, neonatal, and child health care and family planning services; and 3) engage communities in identifying solutions to their health care needs.

For more information on the Nutri-Salud project, please visit the project page.

June 13, 2014
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