October 13, 2017 9:35 am

Guatemalan midwife shares stories to urge support for Cobourg’s Horizons of Friendship

Valenzuela Cos Matul, Guatemalan midwife


A group of Guatemalan caregivers and activists shared their struggles and experiences helping to deliver prenatal and birth care to women in their country. They were hoping to say “thanks” and inspire further support through the Horizons of Friendship office in Cobourg, Ont.

The non-profit has helped provide training to midwives in Guatemala.

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“Some of the topics that they’ve covered in those training sessions include the identification of warning signs, how to provide care during pregnancy and after childbirth, and how to share best practices with women and with families,” said Valenzuela Cos Matul, a Guatemalan midwife through a translator.

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Cos Matul was joined by a doctor and an NGO worker for an open house on Thursday. Each said it can be difficult for pregnant woman in Guatemala to access health care, and that symptoms of high-risk pregnancy often go unnoticed. They also indicated that surgical instruments were not always on hand.

“In the past, they’ve used implements like razor blades and knives that sometimes led to infections,” Cos Matul said.

Horizons of Friendship is hoping to provide midwives like Valenzuela better training along with $33 kits that include basic items such as scissors, towels and protective gear.

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“Maternal and child death rates are extremely high compared to what we see or hear in Canada, so we thought it was a very important cause, that we contribute to this project,” said Hannah Matthews, resource development officer for Horizons of Friendship.

Matthews adds that the organization is working with women’s groups to push for greater gender equality in Guatemala, and to help women have more say when it comes to family planning.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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