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Maternal Indigenous Health

Guatemala Intercultural Highlands Association (AMIGAS)
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Ancestral Medicine



The fertility rate in Guatemala is roughly 5 children per woman. On average, 2 women die every day in the country due to preventable pregnancy related causes. These woman have little access to health care and the majority of these deaths are among indigenous women in rural areas.

Community-based monitoring of maternal mortality in three municipalities in the Department of Quetzaltenango  

The goal of the project is to improve the maternity care in rural Indigenous communities by identifying early warning signs and high risk pregnancies through the participation of midwives and community leaders.  The project will directly benefit 60 pregnant women by providing them with regular access to prenatal visits and services from midwives, and a further 63 (33 female; 30 male) volunteer members of Community Health Commissions will benefit from training  on the importance of prenatal healthcare and to advocate for better health services with Public Health Authorities.  Indirectly, the project aims to indirectly benefit 630 family and community members.

Key Achievements  

• There were no cases of maternal deaths in 2011 in 5 of the 9 municipalities where AMIGAS works; this represents a 50 percent reduction in maternal mortality rates from the previous year.

252 midwives from 9 municipalities of the department of Quetzaltenango received training in detecting early warning signs during pregnancy, delivery, and post partum. This constitutes 65 percent of all midwives in the Department of Quetzaltenango.

39 women with warning signs during pregnancy, birth, and post partum were identified and referred in time to the closest hospital.

22 Health Committees and a Multi-sector Commission in the Cantel community were trained on health issues and have emergency community plans.

350 men were trained and informed on how to recognize warning signs and delays in pregnancy, delivery, and post partum.


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