Nouvelles des membres du Réseau Role of men and traditional illnesses: key factors for safe motherhood in indigenous communities

Une présentation d'Ivan Sarmiento, membre étudiant du RRSPQ, donnée avec le support financier du RRSPQ à la Indigenous Health Conference, Toronto, May 24-26, 2018.  Ivan Sarmiento est l'un des récipiendaires du concours de soutien du RRSPQ à la participation à des conférences internationales (Hiver 2017-2018). Félicitations!

A lecture by Ivan Sarmiento, student member of the QPHRN, given at the Indigenous Health Conference, Toronto, May 24-26, 2018,  with the QPHRN financial support. Ivan Sarmiento is one of the winners of the Winter 2017-2018 QPHRN competition "Support for the participation in international conferences". Congratulations!


Role of men and traditional illnesses: key factors for safe motherhood in indigenous communities

Co-authors: Sergio Paredes-Solís, Neil  Andersson.


Background: Maternal morbidity and mortality remain inequitable burdens for Indigenous women living in Guerrero, Mexico. Lack of respect for and interaction with traditional knowledge systems in the Western healthcare services hinders access by indigenous people. Our objective is to identify actionable aspects of maternal health from the perspective of indigenous traditional midwives.

Methodology: In a larger project that supports traditional midwives of two indigenous groups (Me'Phaaand Nancue ñomda) in 40 communities of Guerrero, we convened 26 traditional midwives in group sessions to generate Fuzzy Cognitive Maps of risk and protective factors for maternal health. They assigned a value (1-5) to each relation to weight its perceived importance. The analysis measured the centrality of each factor to determine its position in relation to other factors and to maternal outcomes.

Results: The midwives identified 18 protective factors with 31 relations and 49 risk factors with 92 relations. A centrality measure indicated a pivotal position of four risk factors: the traditional diseases coraje,coldness, andespanto, and domestic violence. Central protective factors were: presence of traditional midwives, having a caring and working husband, and communication with the partner.

Conclusions: Intercultural dialogue with traditional midwives is necessary to understand the meaning of traditional illnesses and to define actions to manage these risk factors. The central role of men in safe motherhood is relevant to safe birth initiatives and to Western health care which, in medicalizing pregnancy, separates men and communities at large from processes in which they might otherwise have a positive role.