Saving Mothers: notes from the field

This week, we have a guest post from Jessica Oliveira, the Funding Chair for Saving Mothers and the Project Coordinator for a recent Saving Mothers team venture to Guatemala. Jessica is a Ob-Gyn Physician Assistant at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and traveled to Lago Atitlan, Guatemala with a team of three other physicians and midwives to provide support and education to local midwives and to network with other community volunteers.

Enjoy reading a bit more about the activities of Saving Mothers on the ground in Guatemala!

"This January, a team of individuals from Saving Mothers went to Lago Atitlan, Guatemala . The team consisted of Lauren Abrams (midwife), Sam Smith (OB nurse), Saam Miller (OB MD) and Jessica Oliveira (Project Coordinator).  

The goals were:

1) to build on Saving Mothers projects with the comadronas (local midwives),

2) to volunteer at Hospitalito Atitlan and providing nursing education and contributing to improving hospital protocols, and

3) to network with other volunteers in the community that care for the Mayan women.    

Lauren and Jessica met with 3 groups of comadronas from the pueblos of Santiago and San Juan, both small villages on the lake.  As per the comadronas request, they provided educational workshops on labor complications and distributed birthing supplies.  The comadronas participated enthusiastically in the Q & A sessions and were very appreciative.

 Lauren and Chenta, a local social worker and interpreter, conducting a Q&A session with the comadronas 

Jessica, explaining how to use a pregnancy wheel to one of the San Juan comadronas 

As part of the Saving Mothers ongoing nursing education program, Samantha worked with the nurses at Hospitalito.  Her first task was to learn about the nurses’ role in Guatemala, as it is very different from an RN’s position in the US.  Samantha worked alongside the nurses to provide care and teaching about labor management and nursing skills.  The Saving Mothers Team gave a presentation on Electronic Fetal Monitoring and Neonatal resuscitation to the hospital staff.

Lauren Abrams, midwife, presenting on Electric Fetal Monitoring 

The Saving Mothers team made important connections with other volunteers in the area.  Lauren and Jessica facilitated a meeting between the Hospitalito and American and local midwives looking to start a formal educational program for the comadronas.  The team also learned that the local bomberos (firefighters) provide first line obstetric care for local women because the indigenous population is often hesitant to seek hospital care.  As a result, the bomberos have requested that Saving Mothers provide them with basic labor and obstetrical emergency education.


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