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Traditional Indigenous Midwifery Declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage in Mexico's Yucatán State


Traditional midwifery has a very special and ancestral role in women's health in both Mexico and Guatemala. According to Mexico's Ministry of Health, there are an estimated 16,000 midwives in the country. Not only are they delivering thousands of babies yearly, but they are also providing essential prenatal and postpartum care to women and newborns. In many of the rural Indigenous villages where we work, they are the sole healthcare providers, and we believe, a key player in reducing maternal and newborn mortality. However, they often face discrimination, exclusion from formal healthcare facilities, and difficult working conditions. That is why we were exhilarated when we were notified that the state of Yucatán, where we have been working over the past two years, recently declared traditional midwifery an Intangible Cultural Heritage. While there is still much work to do to improve healthcare access for Mayan women and midwives, this is a valuable step in recognizing their importance. For our work in the Yucatán we have collaborated with several partners, including Dr. Julia Garcia Benitez Lopez, the Patronato de la Beneficencia Pública, and the Ministry of Health. We believe our joint efforts have helped raised awareness of this important profession. We thank our partners, and we thank all of you for making our work possible!

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