Doña Mary walks to her village after receiving PPE and midwifery materials. GPA distributed more than 3000 kits to midwives and health promoters in Mexico and Guatemala during the pandemic.
Covid in Mexico and Guatemala
The situation has been challenging and devastating, as the maternal mortality rate in Mexico has increased over 70% since before the pandemic. In 2019, the national maternal mortality rate was 31.1 per 100,000 births. During the crisis, this rate increased to 53.1 per 100,000 births, rates not seen since 2010. In addition, the virus has become the leading cause of maternal deaths in Mexico. Since the crisis began, more than 790 pregnant women or women in the postpartum period died because of the virus, according to the Ministry of Health. This rate places Mexico in second place in Latin America following Brazil, for the highest number of maternal-related deaths due to the coronavirus. From 2020 to 2021, the number of pregnant women who died due to the virus increased by 87%, from 248 to 465 deaths, a rate increase of 87%.
Within this context, the TBAs we work with are working double or even triple what they did last year because many more women are choosing to have home births with a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA). This trend is continuing in Chiapas. Because the government has not provided these essential frontline healthcare workers with PPE or supplies, we have focused efforts to ensure that they and the families they care for are able to take as many precautionary measures as possible, and have the information they need to protect themselves, their families and their patients.
Many of the communities where we work to continue to have even less access to services, making our work ever more vital, as the TBAs are also caring for the health of many community members, including those with Covid-19 symptoms.
Between 2020- 2022, we were able to distribute more than 3000 kits with PPE, and supplies in Chiapas, Yucatán and in Guatemala to TBAs. We also developed and distributed Covid and vaccination materials for TBAs and Indigenous youth.
Examples of material GPA designed and distributed to hundreds of midwives and community health promoters
GPA Launched the Emergency Action Fund to Respond to the Covid-19 Crisis and Funded 10 Emergency Projects
The Emergency Action Fund did the following:
Provided traditional midwives, often the sole caretakers for women and their families, with medical supplies, personal protection equipment, and information on the Covid-19 virus.
Worked with partners on the ground so that children do not starve, as many communities are already experiencing critical food insecurity.
Ensured women with obstetric emergencies, and midwives and health promoters who fall ill get the care they need.
Monitored hospitals to ensure they do not refuse access to indigenous women. We will educate health personnel, and bring widespread attention to abuses.
Award emergency grants to a network of organizations on the ground to respond swiftly to critical needs in their communities.