The following post is an update from Robin Fink, Director of the Jungle Mamas Program.

Recently, the Jungle Mamas team met with 19 Achuar women in the Achuar community of Sharamentsa for a 4 day follow-up community maternal health workshop. This group of women has spent the last seven months (since their first workshop in July) visiting over 20 Achuar communities throughout the territory. In some cases, they walk over four hours to provide prenatal care to expectant mothers living in the most isolated communities. With the group of women we trained in 2014, this brings the amount of Achuar maternal health promoters up to 43, who are visiting approximately 54 of the 73 Achuar communities. Of this number, our 43 maternal health promoters are directly impacting approximately 71% of the Achuar population to date (about 4,600 people). The total population is about 7,000 Achuar living in Ecuador.

A Groundbreaking Workshop

This was a groundbreaking workshop, as we have expanded our team to include 3 Achuar Master Trainers, and have additionally hired a sublocal coordinator for the Pastaza province. Together with a professional nurse-midwife and our team, we reviewed materials ranging from the practice of taking vital signs, maternal and prenatal health data collection, reviewing family planning methods, measuring development of the fetus during prenatal care, prevention and management of obstetric emergencies (i.e. how to refer them to proper medical attention), working with husbands and community leaders to take a more active role in the care of mothers, and coordinating with community health professionals to share responsibility. Each participant also practiced neonatal resuscitation using the NeoNatalie birthing simulator.

We also distributed 80 clean birth kits to the maternal health promoters who will take them to expectant mothers in their communities. In this workshop, we also created a space for women to examine the difficulties and the perceived benefits of their training and worked to achieve solutions collectively. We worked with each maternal health promoter individually to examine and review their maternal health data collection sheets, and in the last 7 months, approximately 60 women have given birth in the communities this group was supervising. Our team is currently working to process this data.

Our team will continue to conduct community follow-up visits with this group throughout the year. In July, we will train the last group of maternal health promoters from communities we have not yet reached (to cover the 29% of the population).

We hope that by the end of 2015, all Achuar communities will have a community maternal health promoter within reach.

Learn more about Jungle Mamas