“The status of women’s health in Guatemala has lagged behind other countries in the region -- and worldwide -- for many decades.”
Spoken during the 2011 United Nations General Assembly, this statement continues to ring true today, especially for indigenous women living in rural Guatemala.
In Guatemala, rural, indigenous women have severely limited access to healthcare services and education. Only 29% of indigenous women use a skilled medical attendant while giving birth (USAID). Indigenous women experience higher and disproportionate rates of maternal mortality -- up to three times more than non-indigenous Guatemalan women (UNGA).
Women are not the only ones affected by an extreme lack of resources-- there are profound consequences for children as well. Among indigenous communities, the rate of infant mortality is 40 deaths per 1,000 live births, 10 deaths higher than non-indigenous populations (USAID). And 50% of Guatemalan children under age 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition (WFP).
Here at Pueblo a Pueblo, we work closely with young indigenous mothers in rural Guatemalan communities. To better understand the lived challenges of mothers in these areas, we visited three women from our Maternal Child Health (MCH) project and listened to their stories.
"This was my concern when I was pregnant. Where would I find medical services to make sure my baby was healthy? That is how I first got into contact with Pueblo a Pueblo -- my neighbors told me that I could receive medical care through their program.”
“When I was giving birth, there were some complications, and the doctors at the local hospital had to intervene. Pueblo a Pueblo supported me during that period.”
Since then, we have witnessed how improved access to pre- and post-natal care, and medical attention for infants, have empowered women and children in rural Guatemala. And through our monthly health workshops, mothers in our program are equipped with knowledge that they are sharing with other women in their communities.
The cycle of empowerment can continue only with your support. Your help makes it possible to reach more women like Maria, Concepcion, and Dolores, and their children. Please consider sponsoring a Maternal Child Health mother today or making a donation to the MCH project.