We support a network of nearly 50 traditional midwives through education and facilitation of hospital referral for 70 patients a month. We are currently conducting an NIH-funded project using smartphones to improve community-based assessment of mother and baby. We provide prenatal services designed to fill in the many gaps in care left by the public health system, including management of medically complex pregnancies. For example, we have diagnosed and treated dozens of expecting mothers with preeclampsia and insulin-dependent diabetes, offering home-based care and long-term follow up for these disorders, which often require prolonged hospitalizations in the public sector.
Moreover, we have recently started an obstetric care navigation program. Obstetric care navigation is an innovative model that combines aspects of accompaniment, patient advocacy, and care coordination to facilitate emergency referrals from home deliveries with traditional midwives to public hospitals.
Care navigators provide a number of tangible benefits both to Maya women and hospital staff, including:
-Arranging emergency transportation via ambulance or community members
-Interpreting between Spanish-speaking providers and Maya speaking patients
-Advocating for informed consent and patient autonomy
-Offering emotional support including during labor
-Expediting care through knowledge of hospital workflows
-Facilitating necessary testing and treatments not available in public hospitals
The overall goal of this project is to improve maternal and neonatal outcomes by strengthening referrals between homebirths with traditional midwives and public-sector hospitals and promote respectful maternity care through the innovation of obstetric care navigators. The project is driven by rapid-cycle quality improvement, which empowers frontline health workers to efficiently identify implementation barriers, test potential solutions, and evaluate response using a rigorous data infrastructure.
A recent video featuring our program can be found here.
Wuqu' Kawoq | Maya Health Alliance is a non-governmental organization providing medical care in rural indigenous areas in Guatemala since 2007. In each of our programs we start by partnering with indigenous communities to identify health needs. Then, together we develop programs that are culturally and linguistically appropriate. For example, we use local Maya languages in all of our work, and we encourage local leadership by hiring and training young women and men to work as health staff in the communities where they live. We are unique among Guatemalan health organizations for our combination of high-quality health programs, our ability to evaluate our work with cutting-edge research methods like randomized controlled trials, and our understanding of local culture and language.