Yantalo, Peru

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Annual Maternal Health Awareness Day


© Travis Higgins
In Peru, 54% of the population lives in poverty (24% in extreme poverty) and maternal mortality rates remain among the highest in the region. Government policy at national level aimed at reducing preventable maternal mortality in Peru has brought about considerable improvements, but much remains to be done to ensure adequate pre-natal, natal and post-natal care available to all Peruvian women, in particular those in rural areas.

Our Local Partner
The Yantalo Foundation is a local organization working in the village of Yantalo and surrounding rural areas, in the province of San Martin, in the upper Amazon jungle. The mission of the Yantalo Foundation is to improve health and education standards in the area. The Foundation has been given land by local authorities to build a clinic, which will also serve as a training center for Peruvian doctors.

Safe Motherhood Assessment
An assessment was carried out in Yantalo through a collaboration between Mothers at Risk, the Yantalo Foundation, the Tarapoto Nursing School and the Yantalo local administration. 465 mothers and pregnant women, as well as traditional birth attendants and the local obstetric nurse were interviewed to better understand maternal health in the area. The survey showed evidence of several challenges, including inconsistent, incomplete prenatal care; a low rate of postnatal check-ups; low awareness of sexual and reproductive health issues; gynecological problems and no availability of a gynecologist; high incidence of domestic violence; and high incidence of teenage pregnancies.

Our project

© Travis Higgins
Mothers at Risk is supporting the introduction of an Annual Maternal Health Awareness Day for Yantalo and surrounding settlements. The objectives of the Day are (1) to raise awareness in the community about key maternal, sexual and reproductive health issues and (2) to bring about a dialogue among stakeholders about concrete strategies to increase prenatal coverage, encourage postnatal check-ups and enhance overall reproductive health in the area.

The first annual Maternal Health Awareness Day will be organized in 2010 with the following elements:
  • An all-community, ‘town-hall’ meeting with a guest lecturer to provide information and to raise awareness about key maternal and reproductive health issues.
  • A health providers’ panel discussion on improving prenatal and postnatal care coverage. Participants in this group discussion will include traditional birth attendants, local and provincial health authorities, and staff from the local health post.
  • Focus groups on family planning and adolescent pregnancies. Participants will include parents, school representatives, health post staff, traditional birth attendants and adolescents
Success indicators for this project include high levels of community participation and involvement in the Day, and the drafting of recommendations by the health providers’ panel discussion and the focus groups on family planning and adolescent pregnancies.