Nearly 50% of deliveries in Honduras, and over 70% of deliveries in rural areas, are attended by traditional birth attendants (also known as community midwives). Historically, midwives have played a critical role in birth around the world, and remain a vital component to maternal child health systems, especially in rural areas, today. In Honduras, 57% of all births in Honduras occur in rural areas, indicating heavy reliance on midwives to facilitate deliveries. The Viva La Partera (Long Live the Midwife) Project, which began in 2010, is intended to increase access to quality healthcare services for women and children by improving the training and organization of the network of community midwives in the Cangrejal Valley.
Interviews conducted by Un Mundo with clinic workers, midwives, and villagers in the Cangrejal Valley have indicated a clear disparity in health services available to remote communities in the region. These groups agreed on the need to integrate existing midwives into the local health system in order to strengthen the capacity and utility of midwives who have yet to realize their full potential to serve their communities, citing that this would ultimately lead to better birth outcomes and more efficient use of resources. The community midwives also determined the nine most pressing priorities and divided these priorities into the following categories:
Developing a midwifery support network will address these needs, improve the relationship between health clinics and community midwives, and ultimately, save lives.Improving training of community midwives will ensure that they can skillfully assist in the when common causes of maternal mortality, such as hemorrhage or anemia, arise, saving mothers and babies throughout the region.
The midwife project welcomes support in the form of training and skills building for the community midwives, resources for educating local mothers, and funds for purchasing needed equipment, and funds for establishing their own birthing rooms.