We’re officially a month into our 16-week Comadrona School of POWHER (Providing Outreach for Women’s Health Education and Resources), and we’re thrilled about how well the course is going! The 22 traditional birth attendants known as comadronas who enrolled in the training are quickly learning new techniques for safe deliveries through interactive games.
One of the games is “Quien soy yo? [Who am I]” where the women are each assigned an internal organ and have to describe its function. And, through team-based assignments, the comadronas learne how to manage common complaints and issues related to pregnancy. After dividing into teams, each group is assigned a complaint and instructed to create a 5-minute skit showing how a comadrona should advise a patient to address the issue. The women have also heard a lecture about prenatal care, its importance and the components of a prenatal visit.
In addition to fun, engaging didactics, the curriculum includes a hands-on skills lab. Here, the comadronas are taught how to take blood pressure, measure fundal height, use a fetal doppler, calculate the estimated expected date of delivery with a pregnancy wheel, and perform Leopolds’ maneuvers to assess fetal position.
"They really enjoyed placing their hands on a pregnant belly. When the comadronas felt the fetal movement, you could literally see them glowing," says Jes Oliveira, Saving Mothers’ Guatemala Coordinator who spearheaded and runs the Comadrona School of POWHER.
This week, two of the students will start their clinical training and perform 11 prenatal visits in the rural coffee fields of Tzanchaj. The students will be supervised by certified nurse midwives who have helped train the comadronas.
We are very excited about the rest of the curriculum! By the end, these 22 women will be qualified to ensure safer, healthier births in their local villages.
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The students made skits about how to address common prenatal complaints such as leg swelling.
A poster that the students made to address leg swelling.
Students also engaged in hands-on clinical skills sessions such as learning to how to take blood pressure measurements.
The comadronas in training also learned how to use pregnancy wheels to determine the estimated date of delivery.