M u j e r e s    A l i a d a s

Programs and Services

Professional Midwife School
In February, 2011, we opened our professional midwife school. We selected 19 candidates from a pool of 60 rural nurses, traditional midwives and health assistants / promoters from the region. After three years, they will become licensed professional midwives and specialists in women’s health. The students range in age from 20 to 50 and are a mix of mestizo and indigenous women, with many currently working in rural government health care facilities. The curricula is based in rural health, focuses on the art and science of midwifery, incorporates knowledge from the traditional midwives and is based on standards set by the World Health Organization. The graduates will work in public and private clinics and hospitals as well as in our own center. Most of the world utilizes the services of professional midwives, but México has not, as of yet, fully embraced this model. There exists a multitude of studies indicating that services provided by professional midwives are safer, more satisfying and more cost effective than those provided by physicians. The World Health Organization has stated that professional midwives are the most appropriate professionals to care for healthy women. The Mexican government itself, in their strategic plan to reduce maternal mortality, has recommended that México train and implement services of professional midwives to save women’s lives and humanize care. In this document they also stated that 80% of the maternal deaths in México were preventable and that professional midwives should be part of the solution to decrease that percentage.

Health/Birth Center for Women and their Families
The center is the home base where women can come to be safe, to learn and to receive and participate in high quality and dignified health care services/births. The center works in partnership with IMSS-Oportunidades, the Ministry of Health and Seguro Popular, without losing independence and the professional midwife philosophy. Nurse/professional midwives run the center and the program to insure that all care and services remain centered around the women and their needs.

Community Program and Women’s Network
We have a very successful community program in 35 communities that surround the lake, and we are currently expanding it to the Meseta Purepecha and the sierras in the state of Puebla. For the last four years we have done research in the communities, asking the women what they need and how they think we can help. Our research and all of our work is based on the women’s voiced needs and their approval. We have developed workshops based on women’s sexual and reproductive health as well as workshops on self esteem and empowerment. Over 8,000 women have attended our workshops and we have hundreds of testimonials from them, as well as rural doctors and nurses, about how much they have learned and how important the programs are. Most say they have never been taught the things we teach and have never been given the opportunity to ask questions, to learn and to participate. The idea for a women’s network came from the women themselves as a recognition of the need to work together to solve common problems. Many of the women live with domestic violence and there are practically no resources to help them escape and/or survive. With the network, women are in a position to help one another.