The Fundación Pachamama team and three Achuar birth assistants successfully facilitated a first level workshop on “Safe Birth and Family Health” in late June for 40 women of three Achuar communities.
Women’s Health as a Community Issue
The workshop began with a discussion on “Women’s Health as a Community Issue.” It is unlikely for a community that has a poor health standing to be able to defend its territory and demand the rights of its people.
For this reason it is of great importance that the Jungle Mamas program (Ikiama Nukuri in Achuar, literally “Women as Keepers of the Forest”) empowers women and mothers to take care of their health and promotes good communication and collaboration between couples. Working in this manner contributes to the wellbeing of the community and of the Achuar nation.
Discussing Previously Unaddressed Issues
The workshop participants discussed some of the main health concerns locally, particularly sanitation and hygiene, which contribute to the high incidence of intestinal parasites and bacterial infections. The facilitators explained how to prevent and treat diarrhea and dehydration and demonstrated how eco-sanitation functions.
The three Achuar facilitators taught the women of the community about human reproduction, safe birth, family planning, and how to make necklaces to keep track of their menstrual cycles according to the rhythm method.
They also acted out how one can make necessary preparations (cleaning the house, boiling water, washing clothes, etc.) for having a safe home birth. The dramatizations of some situations, such as the safe birth, were entertaining and opened a space for the discussion of many issues that had never been addressed before in the community.
Expanding the Reach of Jungle Mamas
The objectives of the first level workshop are to spread information regarding basic health, safe birth and eco-sanitation.
At the same time, the program seeks Achuar women and men who are willing to train to be birth assistants through a more profound second level workshop, continuing to bring this important information to more and more communities.