Advancing Education and Reproductive Health in One of the Poorest States in Mexico
Guerrero ranks 26th out of the 32 states in the country in regards to the major socioeconomic indicators–wages, employment, competitiveness, illiteracy and poverty. In contrast with 20% of Mexico´s population that does not have the financial means to access adequate health, education and housing, 50% of Guerrero´s population faces this reality. That is why investment in primary health and educational opportunities for women is so key to the development of this region and its people. CASA´s community health and midwifery education model can serve to both improve reproductive health, and also provide young women with an opportunity to study and secure a dignified job. After continuous consultancy and advocacy work, in April 2012, the state of Guerrero decided to open the first public midwifery school in the country. Guerrero is the state with the highest maternal mortality rate, and 17,2 % of the state´s population is indigenous. The indigenous communities are located primarily in the Mountain region, the most marginalized zone in the state where there is a lack of access to primary health care, and secondary education. The school will be opening in August 2011 in this region. The school will be modeled after CASA´s academic curriculum, and two CASA midwives will work in the new school for three years. CASA´s educational theater and radio teams have joined in the effort to promote the new school, and professional midwifery in the region. In the last week of May, the group of seven young actors presented their new play on humanized birth and midwifery in 11 schools and communities in the mountain region of Guerrero recruiting students from the region. The team used different translators as it traveled through different indigenous communities, opening spaces for dialogue and conversation among 1,000 people. The new public school is the Guerrero state’s strategy to improve maternal health care, and boost the local economy. This watershed event will pave the way to new policies on maternal health care and reproductive care education in the country.