After nine months of long preparation, a woman goes into labor. She, like most women in Guatemala, lives far from a hospital. She must rely upon thecomadrona, her local community birth attendant. These dedicated and competent women often do not have formalized training to manage more complex birth emergencies. Therefore, Faith In Practice has developed a program to assist them in their important work. Work that will save the lives of mothers and children across Guatemala.
At the beginning of April, Faith In Practice held its first Midwife Training Program: The Midwife Instructor Course. Felicity Thompson, MS CNM, the Midwife Training Program Founder, and Dr. Patricia de Baiza, the Women’s Health Program Clinical Coordinator, taught fifteen students who represented more than seven different communities in Guatemala and at least three different indigenous languages. They are medical professionals, community health workers, and community comadronas, all of whom are committed to their patients who live in challenging and remote areas of Guatemala.
Over two and a half days, students were trained in childbirth emergencies, helping babies breathe, and essential newborn care. The course was heavily hands-on and all the students took turns practicing various scenarios on the birth simulator and the infant models.
As always, Faith In Practice remains committed to the quality of its programs. The Midwife Training Program will therefore include two major components: training and supporting a core group of instructors on various topics in pre- and post- natal care and childbirth (train-the-trainer), and – in partnership with local NGO’s- training and equipping comadronas to attend births in a skilled manner. In order to assure the quality of our instructors, we have created a three-tier certification program (assistant trainer, lead instructor, and independent midwife instructor), of which the first phase took place in April.
As Faith In Practice moves forward with this new pilot program, we are looking forward to training our first group of organized comadronas later this year in the department of Chimaltenango, with the support of our recently certified group of assistant instructors. Our commitment is to create appropriate, consistent formation opportunities to the skilled birth attendants in the rural communities of Guatemala.
For statistics on infant and maternal health, visit: http://www.countdown2015mnch.org/country-profiles/guatemala.
By: Rachel Kitch
Regional Surgery & Women's Health Program Coordinator
Special thanks to Felicity Thompson, Richard Rosenthal, Dr. Patty Baiza, Joanne Wessels and Rachel Kitch for their commitment to this program and the women and children of Guatemala.