Better Maternal Care for Adolescent Tarahumaras



Because most Tarahumara become pregnant by the age of 12-14, One Heart World-Wide is dedicated to train community-based volunteers in the Copper Canyon to become Foot Soldiers of Change. These volunteers reach out to their peers to ensure that pregnant adolescents have access to valuable information for future pregnancy spacing, support during their pregnancy and access to care for delivery, thereby saving many lives as adolescent mothers are much more prone to complications in pregnancy.

What is the issue, problem, or challenge?

The geographical and cultural isolation of the indigenous Tarahumara (of the Copper Canyon, Mexico) pose many barriers to sexual education and health care access. Most Tarahumara girls start giving birth around 12-14 years old, putting them at a much higher risk for obstetric complications - specifically preeclampsia, high blood pressure, and premature births. Complications in pregnancy and childbirth constitutes one of the leading causes of death for these adolescent girls.

How will this project solve this problem?

Through our network of volunteers, OHW outreaches to the adolescent population, informing them of existing resources. We refer young women to the state reproductive health services. Because the Tarahumara are a reserved culture, our volunteers may accompany the girl to the clinic, offering to act as her voice in obtaining the healthcare she wants. For adolescent pregnancies, OHW's Foot Soldiers provide women with prenatal education and vitamins, and the confidence every woman deserves.

Potential Long Term Impact

This program will train and equip 100 volunteers in the Tarahumara communities to ensure safe pregnancies for adolescent girls. In addition, the program will offer ultrasounds in selected rural outposts (to ensure earlier detection of emergencies) as well as stretchers in remote communities to facilitate evacuation. Because adolescents are at higher risk for obstetric complications, this will also decrease the high maternal mortality in the region and allow adolescent girls to survive.

Funding Information

Total Funding Received to Date: $2,200
Remaining Goal to be Funded: $2,800
Total Funding Goal: $5,000

Additional Documentation

This project has provided additional documentation in a Microsoft Word file (projdoc.doc).


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One Heart World-Wide

San Francisco, California, United States

Project Leader

Arlene Samen

San Francisco, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Better Maternal Care for Adolescent Tarahumaras
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