PCI provides life-saving reproductive and maternal health services for approximately 6,000 women and children each year in Huehuetenango, including prenatal and postpartum inpatient care at Casa Materna for over 1,450 inpatients. Additionally, the Casa Materna provides pediatric care, educational trainings and support for families, and community outreach and trainings for traditional birth attendants and other community health workers throughout the region.
Poor, indigenous Mayan families living in the remote, rural highlands of western Guatemala have some of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the Western Hemisphere. For every 1,500 pregnant women in this region, nearly 30 die in childbirth. Tragically, each mother's death leaves behind an average of 7 to 10 vulnerable children, a tremendous stress not only to the family but to the community as they try to cope with the tragic loss.
PCI began its Casa Materna program in 2000 with a mission to save the lives of mothers and infants through an integrated maternal and child health program. At its heart is the Casa Materna (Mother's House), a 25-bed "maternity waiting home" in Huehuetenango where women with high-risk pregnancies are referred for care and monitoring until they are transferred for a safe delivery at the adjacent hospital. After their deliveries, many mothers return to the Casa Materna to recover and receive education and support, until they are ready to make their journey home.
PCI also promotes Kangaroo Mother Care, a highly effective "low tech" method for warming pre-term and low birth weight newborns through skin-to skin contact. The Kangaroo Mother Care method, which is practiced in the hospital and continued in the home, often with the help of other family members and caregivers, has greatly reduced neonatal mortality in these underweight infants.
Since its inception, PCI's Casa Materna program has provided more than 100,000 indigenous women with culturally-sensitive and quality reproductive health care and enabled over 13,000 safe deliveries- without a single mother lost.
Our local contact is Rotary President, Pablo Cardona.