Traditional Midwives Training

Began in 2010 | Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico 

Traditional Midwives, or parteras tradicionales, are far more than birth attendants. In the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca they are highly respected community leaders and health promoters. Parteras oversee an estimated 20-25% of live births in the region and 40% of women in Oaxaca’s coastal region access services from parteras at least twice during pregnancy. Despite these statistics, traditional midwives are not recognized as official members of the healthcare system. To address this, CFHI facilitates the only training for traditional midwives on safe birth techniques, recognition of obstetric emergencies, and addressing newborn distress in the state of Oaxaca. In collaboration with the local Ministry of Health and engaging medical students from Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine(FSM), CFHI’s training is entering its 8th year.

CFHI’s local Medical Director, Dra. Isabel Saucedo, is a local champion for this relationship and capacity-building training that bridges the formal health system and traditional birth attendants.

In June 2016, Northwestern University Alliance for International Development (NUAID), a student-lead group at FSM, the Oaxacan Ministry of Health, and local physicians and public health officials were successful yet again in running a 4-day workshop for approximately 40 traditional midwives focusing on capacity-building education, along with networking amongst local health providers. This annual training is essential for professional development and continuing education of traditional midwives and establishes consistency and correctness with prenatal guidance, fertility advice, family planning, and birth attendance.

Read more on how events unfolded at this year's training in Puerto Escondido and the resounding impact it has within Oaxaca's coastal communities.

We are also delighted to annouce that a study-"Partnering with Partneras: Capacity Building for Lay Wives in Mexico"-measuring the impacts of the training was approved for publishing in the International Journey of Research on Service Learning & Community Engagement. The study was primarily carried out by Alex Friedman, a former NUAID medical student who helped lead the training in 2014 and alumna of CFHI's global health education program in Puerto Escondido.