We have started the year in good spirits and with a lot of optimism. One Heart has been working hard to train as many people from rural communities as possible in order to reach out to pregnant women residing in the remote areas of the Canyon.
In January, health workers from the state of Chihuahua received a Cultural Sensitivity training for the first time. The idea behind this, is the need to bring deeper awareness to health care providers about the cultural beliefs that the Tarahumara women hold in order to communicate more clearly, effectively, and in a manner that is respectful of their cultural differences. The majority of the health staff that work in rural communities, we have realized, are mestizos, meaning they do not consider themselves indigenous. Due to the differing perspectives and practices held by the mestizos and the Tarahumaras, we believe it is important for health workers to be more open to the cultural beliefs of the many indigenous groups within Mexico, in order to provide improved, client-centered care to the indigenous women that are at risk of dying in childbirth.
We have set a goal to train at least 200 community health volunteers in two municipalities, Urique and Guachochi. To date, we are pleased to report that we have already trained 90 of them. Community health volunteers are such an essential part of the "Network of Safety" model, functioning as our Foot Soldiers of Change to provide outreach to the remote communities of the Canyon. We are increasing the number of community health volunteers we train because the more we train, the greater number of women we will reach. These Foot Soldiers are trained in basic life saving skills, basic prenatal care and emergency evacuation and stabilization. All of the 90 people that have been trained take the responsibility to spread messages about the benefits of receiving adequate maternal health care to their communities. It is because of this, that more women are now accessing care on time, have increased their visits to a doctor in a clinic, and feel more comfortable delivering in a clinic near their home.
In addition to having made a requirement for health staff to receive a Cultural Sensitivity training, we are also providing doctors and nurses with receiving training in emergency obstetrics and neonatal resuscitation. So far this year, we have trained 44 nurses and doctors, and are expecting to train another 40 in May. We make sure that all staff that is trained has direct contact with rural areas of the Copper Canyon to ensure that pregnant women in the greatest need receive most of the benefits from these of trainings, which are designed specifically for high risk areas.
We are proud to also announce that for the first time since we arrived to Mexico, we were able to bring some of our supporters to visit the Copper Canyon and to get a first hand look at how we develop and implement our programs for the safety of mothers and newborns. We must say that it was an unforgettable experience and are hoping to do it again next year.
Happy New Year!
First we would like to say thank you for a fantastic 2012. That said, with your help, we are looking forward to an even better 2013!
So much was accomplished in Mexico over the course of 2012. In Urique we were able to bring health facility-based deliveries among women covered by our programs up from 5% to 40%, increase the number of women receiving appropriate prenatal care from less than 10% to 80%, and increase attendance of a skilled provider at deliveries among women in OHW care from less than 5% to 40% as well. We trained 65 health care providers on neonatal resuscitation and emergency obstetrics, in addition to 56 indigenous community health volunteers. Because of severe drought and resulting food shortages, we also went outside of our usual frame of work in order to provide 542 families with pregnant women and newborns (among the most vulnerable during times of food shortages) with food aide in order to help them survive the harsh conditions and period of crisis.
Due to the success of our work in Urique and with the support of the local communities and health system, we began planning for our next site within Mexico – in Guachochi. Some of our US-based staff is currently in Guachochi leading our first training sessions there and meeting with key players who will be involved in the development of the new program over the course of this coming year. Our first-ever Cultural Sensitivity Training is underway, in addition to our trainings for Traditional Midwives, Helping Babies Breathe, Basic Life Support Obstetrics, and Advanced Life Support Obstetrics.
This year, in addition to continuing our programs in Urique, we plan to train a new Master Trainer in our Guachochi site, train 130 health care providers on basic life support obstetrics, advanced life support obstetrics, ultrasound use, and neonatal resuscitation, and 100 community outreach providers within the municipality of Guachochi. We will also be expanding our reach by training the entire network of health auxiliaries overseen by the Department of Health on prenatal care and detection of emergency warning signs. We will be including a new training on cultural sensitivity for all providers as well.
All of this will enable us to help provide adolescent girls and women in the Copper Canyon with vital information and services that will enable them to have healthier pregnancies, safer deliveries, and brighter futures.
We will be sharing more information and photos with you when our Mexico Program Administrator returns from his trip. Thanks for your support and stay tuned!
Want to find out more? “Like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, sign up for email updates, and check out our 2012 Newsletter and Annual Report.
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