At right: Master midwife Esperanza Ordoñez teams with Xela AID as a health care provider, presenter and midwifery mentor.
In rural Guatemala, it is estimated that at least 70% of all children are still delivered by midwives. Midwives, too, play an important role in public health in their use of traditional medicines, as first responders, and as conduit between the community and non-traditional health care providers (Western medicine).
Xela AID's collaboration with midwives began at its inception, when an organized group of midwives helped arrange its earliest medical clinics beginning in 1993.
Today, Xela AID supports the work of midwives through:
• Training, on subjects including: best practices in birthing; risks, remedies and limits (i.e. when to seek professional medical attention; pre-natal and post-natal procedures
• Supplies, including gloves, surgical clamps, cotton, towels, and blankets and clothing for newborns
• Pre-natal support through daily access to general medicine and weekly access to exams using an ultrasound
• Doctor's care in the case of pre-natal complications, including medicines when necessary
Through its June Russel-Glennon Clinic, Xela AID also provides post-natal care for mother and child.
Xela AID currently collaborates with ACAM, Asociación de Comadronas del Área Mam a group of approximately 50 active midwives - and other independent midwives. In the future, Xela AID aims to expand to offer training and support to a broader group, and potentially, to assist in the formation of a national midwives association to provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge and information, and to create a voice for this important but currently undervalued and under-recognized group.