This month the Maternal Child Health Program monthly educational seminar focused on reproductive anatomy and birth spacing and introduced family planning methods. Interestingly enough, the local language does not have words for many of the reproductive organs, so our health educator used a mixture of Spanish and Tz’utujil. The members of the group labeled the female and male reproductive parts before and after the lesson and we saw a huge improvement in what they know about their bodies. Discussion related to the importance of birth spacing gave participants the opportunity to reflect on the benefits of having fewer children. Not only was the health of the mother and existing children discussed, but also economic stability of the entire family.
Family planning continues to be a very important topic here in Guatemala. The average number of births per woman in this country is 4.4, however, in areas such as Santiago Atitlan, it is still common for women to have eight or more children. Part of the reason the birth rate is higher in rural areas of Guatemala is the lack of education and availability of family planning methods. Luckily, in Santiago our partnering medical clinic provides nearly every form of birth control. However, education about the benefits of family planning and how to use these methods is still lacking among the people in the community. For this reason, Pueblo a Pueblo is focusing the next 4 sessions of our educational seminar on how a woman can space or limit births using natural, hormonal, barrier or permanent methods.
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