Health authorities of El Alto, Bolivia, address the practices and knowledge of traditional midwives

24 Oct 2022
Parteras El Elto Bolivia

El Alto, La Paz, Oct. 24th, 2022 (PAHO)- El Alto’s Health Secretariat is currently working with the local association of midwives to revalue their practices and knowledge. This is to improve sexual and reproductive health care in this municipality, which has one of the highest rates of population growth in Bolivia.

A workshop with traditional midwives of El Alto to discuss their role in sexual and reproductive health was organized with the support of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), in the context of the project “Improved Health of Women and Adolescent Girls in Situations of Vulnerability,” funded by the Government of Canada.

The project aims to increase access to and coverage of sexual, reproductive, and maternal health services to provide a comprehensive and integrated primary care response to at-risk women and adolescent girls. 

 The session included actors of the Municipal Secretary of Health and the Directorate of Health Management, the Promotion and Prevention Unit, the Area of Traditional Medicine and Alternative Therapies of the Municipality, the Association of Traditional Doctors, the Municipal Committee of Traditional Medicine and the Regional Health Service (SERES). 

The participants analyzed the local indicators of sexual and reproductive health, risk factors in the care of traditional childbirth and proposals for the articulation of midwives with health services. They also recognized the need to improve coordination with midwives, who expressed the importance of treating health problems holistically involving them, as well as naturopaths and nurses.

During the pandemic, midwives provided significant support for women's health as they attended many home births due to the closure of some of the health services. 

This staff has a trusting connection with the women of their communities and neighborhoods because, for midwives, childbirth is a family event that they support and accompany.  

Health authorities consider it is essential to link midwives to health services to provide a joint response in cases of obstetric emergencies.