Friday, January 9, 2009

Midwives and Rural Outposts: A Trip to Santa Rosa, Day 4 Jan. 7

We began our adventure to Santa Rosa by leaving early in the morning. We traveled on the microbus for 2.5 hours through good, bad, and worse roads. Luckily for the Nicaraguans, many of the roads we traveled on were in midst of paving; however with many world grant funds being frozen due to economic or political reasons, the future of these projects is uncertain--only 10% of Nicaragua´s roads are paved. We were accompanied on this sojourn by the group of art teachers from the PGL-León Art School who were collecting images of the Santa Rosa projects for a future mural.

Upon arriving in Santa Rosa, we toured a health clinic. Much like the hospital, supplies and resources are scarce. This clinic services the city of Santa Rosa services over 33 rural communities and 4 municipalities--hundreds of thousands of people--with only 10 doctors and a few nurses. Still the work that they do provides needed care in this isolated group of communities.

After our tour of the clinic, we walked around Santa Rosa and saw the sister-school to Urbana High School, Md. This PGL project has fostered cultural exchange and understanding between the 2 high schools, and an Urbana delegation has visited and stayed in Santa Rosa in the past.

A block from the school stood the Casa Materna, which is a building constucted by the relationship between PGL and Project León Minnesota. Several midwives told stories from decades of experience serving the Santa Rosa area. The director and most experienced midwife shared with us the past vision of the facility and present and future plans for the center. One of the messages belayed to our group was continued frustrations with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health. A few years ago the government made a transition from rural midwife delivery to an institutional model prohibiting midwives from delivering babies. The midwives share continued frustrations becauser the clinics are over capacitated and the women prefer midwife deliveries. Now the Casa Materna functions as a temporary home for expecting mother from distant areas--as far as 9 km away. Here, pregnant women and their families wait comfortably until the birth of the baby at the nearby health clinic. The women return to their communities a few days after delivery--sometimes transported via hammock, carried by 2 men, back to their home.

Thanks for reading. We´ll be out of touch for a day or so since we´ll be at a rural coffee co-op Porvenir. Chau.

1 comment:

  1. I had a similar impression while I was visiting Ruteng, Flores in Indonesia. The maternity ward in the hospital was particularly in great need of supplies and clean sheets, and it is certainly understandable that people prefer the former methods of midwife and homebirth, until they can safely establish health clinics that can offer the same care as a midwife. It would be wonderful if they could work out a system where doctors and midwives worked together--each offering a valuable component to help a pregnant mother--which seems to be a popular system in many European countries.

    I can't wait to hear more of your incredible stories and impressions!