Advanced Jungle Mamas Workshop Deepens and Strengthens Safe Birthing Skills in Achuar Communities

September 20, 2016 | By Mylie Thompson

From June 23 through July 1, the Jungle Mamas program hosted a 6 day intensive workshop for 25 Community Maternal Health Promoters (CMHPs) in the Achuar community of Sharamentsa in eastern Ecuador.

Lead by Jungle Mamas’ team of professional midwives, the local Jungle Mamas team, and Achuar master trainers, this workshop gave CMHPs the chance to deepen their training by sharing their experiences from their communities and problem solve together.

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This workshop was an important milestone for the program as it was the first round of the 2nd level trainings with the Community Maternal Health Promoters. All of the CMHPs who attended this workshop had already attended 2 previous 1st level training workshops and most of them have been working as CMHPs for several years.

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Workshop Highlights

The workshop covered many areas of women’s, children’s and community health.

Maternal and Infant Health

  • Review of measuring vital signs: blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.
  • Jungle Mamas designed and taught a comprehensive unit on nutrition that was culturally appropriate and based on Achuar diet and context that the CMHPs can deliver back in their communities and schools.
  • Addressed problems and further complications in newborns, infants, and mothers and how to both refer and treat certain scenarios, given the possibility that evacuation is not accessible.
  • Prevention and treatment of parasitic infections

Strengthening Community and Leadership

  • Each woman shared personal birth stories to develop her ability to share clinical cases, speak in front of groups, and enrich group learning.
  • CMHPs refined and deepened their teaching and leadership skills by working in groups to review the subjects learned during the workshop, and facilitate a community health workshop in which each CMHP taught actively.
  • Strengthening leadership strategies and exercises.

Training in Birthing Complications

  • The workshop combined tools from the Global Health Media Project and electronic teaching materials (iPads) provided from a generous donation from the Laney Thornon Foundation. This was the first time that iPads with step-by-step visual instructions on how to respond to different complications during and after childbirth were used as a teaching tool.
  • More advanced training in complications such as elevated blood pressure, increased fundal uterine height, complications in pregnancy, and training on conducting a detailed newborn exam.
  • Further guidance on complicated births. CMHPs received training on how to attend births in the event that evacuation for emergency medical care is not possible and planning prior has not worked.
  • Developed a deeper knowledge of local plants used in Achuar culture to treat and prevent postpartum hemorrhage.

Domestic Violence and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

  • Began critical discussions, driven by Achuar women themselves, to start thinking and reflecting about domestic violence in their communities and how that affects their work as CMHPs. This comprehensive curriculum has not yet been finished, but it’s part of a strategy Jungle Mamas will be working on in 2017.
  • Further in-depth education about sexually transmitted infections, the importance of pelvic exams, and options for family planning.

Creating a Workshop for Sharamentsa

The workshop concluded with all of the CMHPs collectively designing and implementing a community health workshop for the community of Sharamentsa, using all the teaching tools, aids, and materials they have at their disposal. It was an excellent workshop and the community of Sharamentsa—including men—were really impressed and impacted by this training.

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