Maya Midwifery International supports training of indigenous midwives in Xela, Guatemala. Through formal nursing education, young midwives - who have historically been excluded from the formal Guatemalan health care system- are able to integrate the traditional wisdom of indigenous midwifery with contemporary medical practice, allowing them to provide up-to-date care in the Asociacion de las Comadronas del Area Mam (ACAM) birthing center located just outside of Xela.
Mayan midwives attend 80% of the births in indigenous Guatemala. They work in areas of extreme poverty, communicating in Mayan languages for women who don't speak Spanish. Yet, civil war and discrimination against indigenous peoples has marginalized midwives and excluded them from the Guatemalan health system. Giving indigenous midwives the credentials and tools of modern medical practice will help them gain access to the formal health system and provide comprehensive care for their patients.
MMI raises the level of health care available to Mayan women in the communities served by ACAM by elevating the education of midwives. We support aspiring midwives to further their education in women's health through full university nursing programs. We will support our current nursing student through completion of her studies so that she may contribute to the local community immediately upon graduation. We will also, with the Mayan leadership at ACAM, recruit and support a second candidate.
As ACAM continues to grow and expand the services they offer to women who have little access to health care facilities, advanced education for midwives will improve the quality and sustainability of the organization. Through the support of the scholarship program with MMI, the midwives will continue to provide high quality bilingual reproductive health care in their communities as well as improve their status with local civic leaders and healthcare providers.
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