“La Clave”: The Need for Integration, Support, and Promotion of Professional Midwifery in Mexico

Presenter: Lauren French Hoy, Asociación Mexicana de Partería

Currently, maternal mortality (MM) rates in Mexico are unacceptably high (38.3:100,000 live births in 2013). Although Mexico is classified by the World Bank to be a developed country, at this rate, Mexico will not reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) #5 it committed to by 2015.  For the past 50 years Mexico’s main strategy to lower MM rates has been to utilize physicians (not midwives) in institutional settings as principal birth attendants. This tactic has not lowered MM rates enough.  International organizations including WHO, UNFPA, ICM have recommended professional and nurse midwives as the best choice for providing birth assistance to low risk pregnancies.  We completed a comprehensive literature review in Spanish/English utilizing available, current information and research regarding MM and Midwifery. Findings indicate that Mexico lacks sufficient human resources to meet the need for the public to receive skilled birth attendants and quality care.   Mexico’s national Center for Reproductive Health, CNEGSR, outlines common reproductive health care problems as: low quality medical attention, overly saturated healthcare services at the secondary level, limited medical attention available in the primary level; lack of access to healthcare services due to physical locations, economical & cultural reasons; and finally, conditions of gender and ethnic inequity, and human rights inequalities. Findings were condensed into a six-minute informational Whiteboard Animation for government decision makers, medical professionals and the general public. In order to improve maternal mortality rates and maternal and newborn health in general, there is a need to promote understanding of professional midwifery, and integrate professional midwifery into Mexico’s national health care system. The Mexican government should commit to support training, recognition, and The National Midwifery Association in order to increase practitioners skilled in midwifery to provide quality, evidenced based care, and to advocate for a more humane, culturally competent, maternal health care system.