Going to New States

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By: María Laura Casalegno, Young Champion of Maternal Health

This blog post was contributed by María Laura Casalegno, one of the fifteen Young Champions of Maternal Health chosen by Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth. She will be blogging about her experience every month, and you can learn more about her, the other Young Champions, and the program here.

In late October I left the city of San Miguel de Allende. The reason? First to go to Acapulco City to attend the meeting of the Specific Action Program “Arranque Parejo en la Vida” and then travel to Oaxaca, one of the most beautiful and most cultural states of Mexico (the goal there being to evaluate the impact of the ALSO (Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics) program in the General Hospital “Dr. Aurelio Valdivieso”).

When I arrived to Acapulco in the State of Guerrero, I had two free days to visit the city and the beach. I found a lively city with beautiful landscapes and views. After two days of rest, the meeting of the Specific Action Program “Arranque Parejo en la Vida” began. The meeting was organized by the National Center for Gender Equity and Reproductive Health, the General Office of Maternal and Perinatal Care and Maternal Health Branch, all agencies under the Ministry of Health of the Nation and the Ministry of Health of the State of Guerrero. The meeting is held twice a year and aims to help achieve healthy pregnancies and to achieve delivery, postpartum and newborn care by qualified personnel in order to reduce maternal and perinatal deaths. Another goal is to discuss past and future policies and implementations in the field of maternal and perinatal health.

After participating in Acapulco’s meeting, I went to Mexico City to attend a meeting with Dr. Aurora Del Río Zolezzi, General Director for Gender Equality of the Ministry of Health of the Nation. At this meeting we established the future steps regarding the SART/ERAS Program (Sexual Assault Response Team). The launch of this program in Mexico presents some difficulties due to cultural differences between Mexico and the United States of America. However, joining the efforts between the Ministry of Health, PACEMD and other civil society organizations in both Mexico and the United States of America may obtain favorable results for handling cases of violence against women.

From Mexico City I traveled to Oaxaca City. There I participated in the “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls” organized by Oaxaca Health Services, Prevention and Treatment of Family Violence and Gender and State Coordinator of the Prevention and Treatment of Family Violence and Gender (all bodies belonging to the Ministry of Health of the Nation). In addition to participating in that day, my main goal was to start working on assessing the impact of the ALSO program through five indicators that will produce data on the management of obstetric emergencies six months previous and six months after the implementation of the Program. This activity is still being held in the Hospital General “Dr. Aurelio Valdivieso,” one of the hospitals with the largest flow of patients throughout the state of Oaxaca.

The entire month has been a constant learning and discovering of new places and new people. All this is working very positively in the development of my own ideas and my project.