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February 2017 Entry

Saving Mothers School of POWHER

Shelby Adler
New York · New York
Overview
What is your cause and how will it make the world kinder?

Approximately 350,000 women in developing nations die during childbirth each year. We are Saving Mothers and we believe that no woman should die giving life. The vast majority of these deaths are due to preventable reasons and this number of deaths in low-resource settings can be significantly lowered with basic reproductive health education and care.

Guatemala has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Latin America, mainly affecting indigenous Mayan women. In an effort to save their lives we have created the School of POWHER (Providing Outreach in Women's Health & Educational Resources). This training curriculum empowers local traditional birth attendants, or comadronas, with the skills necessary to prevent maternal mortality.

How will you use the $10k?

We will use the $10,000 for our School of POWHER program. We will be recruiting 20 new students for the current year. These rural, indigenous students will need to travel and stay with us for 6 months to attend the School. The cost of housing and travel is $750/month, which totals to $4,500 for 6 months. The other $5,500 will allow us to purchase 14 POWHER kits, each costing $375 each, for the new comadrona students. A POWHER kit includes everything necessary to provide basic prenatal care. The kit contains our safe birth kits, a stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff, a Fetal Doppler, measuring tape, a headlamp, AAA batteries for the head lamp and Fetal Doppler, a pregnancy wheel, prenatal vitamins, and 20 pregnancy tests.

What impact do you hope to make?

Saving Mothers School of POWHER is dedicated to eradicating preventable maternal deaths and birth related complications in Guatemala. One of the largest factors that attributes to these high rates of maternity mortality is the almost exclusive reliance of indigenous women on comadronas for prenatal and obstetric care. Largely untrained, these attendants are not equipped to handle birth related complications or emergencies. We believe that comadronas hold a fundamental, but untapped, role in the Guatemalan healthcare infrastructure. By properly training comadronas we can create a unique and powerful partnership between modern medicine and traditional values that ultimately saves the lives of women in high-risk labor.

Other Details
Saving Mothers School of POWHER
Saving Mothers School of POWHER
Saving Mothers School of POWHER
Saving Mothers School of POWHER

In March, we will finish recruiting comadronas for our next session of the School of POWHER. For the next 6 months, we will provide the students with housing and transportation. The program combines educational didactic sessions with clinical training for 4 months. The didactic sessions will focus on prenatal care, signs of referral for mom and baby, and management of post-partum complications. The clinical arm of the school will consist of recorded prenatal visits, supervised births, and post-partum visits. Upon graduation in June, the comadronas will receive their own POWHER kit and continue with clinical training for the next few months depending on the amount of training they still need. We hope training will be complete by September.

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