Slideshow Showcases Decline in Traditional Midwifery in Mexico

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A new slideshow of photographs by photographer Nikhol Esteras Roberts and the Global Pediatric Alliance (GPA) follows traditional midwives in Chiapas, Mexico, highlights efforts to connect indigenous women with skilled care at delivery are seriously hampered by the shortage of providers, along with distance and difficulties in reaching health facilities.  It touches on a number of issues also raised in an NPR story from December 2012 (our post on that story is here). Each article takes on a strategy for addressing this gap in care: the slideshow focuses on a program to upgrade the skills of traditional midwives, while the NPRs story focuses on a newly opened school that trains professional midwives.

From the NPR story:

“As Mexico’s public health system has pushed more and more women to give birth in hospitals, it has created a stigma that midwifery is old-fashioned and has no place in modern medicine. Traditional midwives attend fewer and fewer births. But that strategy hasn’t necessarily worked out for the best.”

The slideshow provides an interesting illustration of this point: it focuses on a program that is working to upgrade the skills of traditional midwives – a very different strategy than the professional midwifery training featured in the NPR story – but one that seems to run into precisely the same challenge. Increased use of health facilities in places like Chiapas and Guerrero has contributed to a major decrease in maternal mortality, but major challenges remain.