Traditional Midwives in Chiapas, Mexico participate in workshops on newborn care and recognizing, and responding to life-threatening emergencies
Overview of Programs
By providing educational, technical, and financial support, Global Pediatric Alliance is working alongside rural and Indigenous communities to build the skills and empower traditional birth attendants and community health workers, often the only link to essential maternal and child health services in remote and marginalized areas where access to state health services is limited. We also provide small grant funding to sustainable community-driven health projects that can have a significant impact on maternal and child health. We accompany these grassroots leaders as they advocate for improved and respectful health services and policies for themselves and the women and children they care for.
Indigenous midwives in Chiapas, Mexico practice neonatal care as part of a GPA workshop series
Midwife Enrichment Courses & Accompaniment
The states of Chiapas, and Yucatán, in Mexico, and Guatemala are home to Indigenous Maya people who live in small, widely dispersed villages with limited access to healthcare services. Almost 90% of births take place at home with the assistance of a midwife in many of these villages. The maternal death rate can reach up to four times the national average due to numerous barriers to care, including the lack of easily accessible emergency obstetric services; denial of services, or misdiagnosis or mistreatment of Indigenous populations.
Since 2004, GPA has worked with thousands of Indigenous traditional midwives whose ancestral knowledge has been passed down for generations. We provide workshops that enrich the practices of midwives, and provide the opportunity for the exchange of knowledge that strengthens their skills. We also accompany these essential healthcare practitioners as they unite and advocate for recognition, and improved and respectful healthcare services and policies for themselves, and the women and communities they serve. Since 2013, we have been working on an initiative to help organize, accompany and equip upwards of 1000 additional midwives in Chiapas and Yucatán with medical, leadership and advocacy skills.
Health promoters in rural Guatemala are trained in lifesaving techniques such as first aid and monitoring blood pressure
Strengthening Health Promoters
In many rural areas of Mexico and Guatemala, communities lack access to even the most basic health care. Transportation is scarce and reaching a medical center can take hours. When a mother or child experiences a health crisis, chances of survival are lower without immediate help.
GPA has been working with organizational and grassroots partners in Mexico and Guatemala to train teams of local frontline health care workers on prenatal care, obstetric emergencies, first aid, and respiratory and diarrheal diseases, as well as in the coordination of an emergency transportation fund for communities. Training of health workers in Guatemala and Mexico is giving thousands of families access to basic health care, often for the first time, and the opportunity for a healthier life.
Government officials and volunteers work together to install a GPA-funded water chlorination system in Guatemala.
Community-Designed Health Projects
Each year, GPA funds health-related projects designed by grassroots communities, through our Community-Designed Health Grants Program. In addition to financial assistance, we provide technical guidance and training in project management to empower groups to achieve long-term impact and sustainability.
Community projects range from infrastructure to educational workshops that can improve maternal and child health outcomes, and well-being. Recent examples include chlorination of a municipal water system serving 4,800 families; installation of clean water tanks at two rural health clinics, and reproductive health and family planning education for Indigenous girls and adolescents.