Many communities around the world do not have a basic level of health care and are asking for or need assistance from the international community. The most vulnerable people are impoverished women and children since they are least likely to receive adequate health care. Every year, hundreds of thousands of women globally die during pregnancy or childbirth. Nearly nine million children die before reaching the age of five.

Through community-based health promotion, education and nutrition programs, World Renew is working to help improve health outcomes for vulnerable people. For example, in remote rural areas of Guatemala, we are working with local partners to provide Child and Maternal Health programs. These programs focus on community development through health education and improved medical care.

Recently, World Renew staff and partners facilitated educational training for midwives in three remote communities in the mountains of Guatemala. The training was conducted by Margaret Verkuyl NP PHC, an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Nurse Practitioner Program and a full time professor in the Centennial College collaborative Nursing Degree Program and a member of Hebron CRC. During the 5-hour simulation sessions, Verkuyl used the “Mama Natalie” model to educate birthing attendants and midwives on best practices while delivering a newborn. 

In another training session for the women of the community, Verkuyl introduced the women to “Latina Pads”, a reusable sanitary napkin. The women said they would buy Kotex (a disposable menstrual pad) when they had money otherwise they would use rags. The problems caused by the lack of menstrual products occur not only in Guatemala, they occur around the world in developing countries. Girls and women stay at home when they do not have adequate menstrual products. As a result they miss school and other activities. Reusable pads are a very simple solution that eliminates the need for the girls & women to buy disposable menstrual products and decreases the negative environmental effect of disposable pads.

The women eagerly made their own  “Latina Pads” in the afternoon workshops. 

This winter, the GEMS girls group of Hebron Christian Reformed Church in, Whitby, Ontario took part in a dinner fundraiser to provide funds for the “Mama Natalie” and materials for the  “Latina Pads”. The supplies have been used to  improve maternal health education and women’s hygiene in Guatemala.

Kevin Verkuyl, a carpenter from Hebron CRC, joined World Renew staff Iona Buisman and Sadoc Aguilar Palma to review community development initiatives supported by World Review. Together they looked for ways for Hebron CRC to partner with local communities in Guatemala to work together for positive sustainable changes to both communities.

World Renew would like to thank Hebron CRC for supporting both of these initiatives in Guatemala. Education, training and supporting women so they have improved health outcomes is part of World Renew's commitment to Child and Maternal Health Programming and is an important part of the community development work that is being done!

To learn more about World Renew’s Child and Maternal Health program, click here.


TOP Photo: Marg, with Mama Natalie & male birth attendant