Guatemala and the School of Powher
Guatemala has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Latin America. At 140 deaths per 100,000 births, this rate is 5 times higher than in the U.S. Around 75% of the home births in Guatemala are attended to by traditional Mayan birth attendants known as comadronas. The comadronas are typically there to provide emotional support. While well-respected within their communities, they are not equipped to handle birth-related complications or emergencies.
Saving mothers created the School of Powher (Providing Outreach in Women’s Health & Educational Resources). At Saving Mothers, we recognize the importance of educating and empowering women within the context of their local perspective. This 16 week program teaches the comadronas the skills necessary to ensure safe deliveries, address complications, and refer for hospital delivery when appropriate.
As of this year, the newest program of the School of Powher is becoming self-sufficient. Two head comadronas, graduates from the original class, have been identified as lead educators that will deliver the lecture portion of the school in Mayan dialect. Six additional graduates have been identified as clinical preceptors that will teach and oversee prenatal home visits for the 20 new student-comadronas during the clinical portion of the curriculum.
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