State Government recognizes the work of Yucatecan midwives

Midwives do a tremendous labor for the rural communities in Yucatan (Photo: Gobierno del Estado de Yucatan)

By virtue of the work carried out by traditional midwives in support of the health of mothers and babies, Governor Mauricio Vila Dosal instructed the Administration of the Patronato de Beneficencia Pública de Yucatán (APBPY) to provide supplies and equipment to the most outstanding exponents of these practices in the Sanitary Jurisdiction number 1.

In turn, the unit seeks to establish agreements, such as with the Global Pediatric Alliance, in order to achieve training, recognition, and respect for them and their noble profession, through the “Midwives and traditional medicine” program.

Regarding the delivery of the support, the head of the agency, Zhazil Méndez Hernández, together with the head of the aforementioned Jurisdiction, Rosa Méndez Vales, visited the Sotuta Health Center, where, as part of the plan, conducted a test of prenatal exercises for pregnant women and midwives. 

During the activity, Mrs. Belem Tun Canto, with 20 years of experience in these practices, thanked the training and the material received, since her work is not only during the delivery, but Yucatecan midwives also follow up days later to make sure that the mother and the baby are in good health. 

Another case is that of Mrs. Felipa Cetina Moo, 83 years old and 50 as a midwife, the oldest in the Jurisdiction. She is a native of the community of Tibolón, Sotuta, where she also practices traditional Mayan medicine, being a bastion of ancestral wisdom and with extensive knowledge of Yucatecan herbalism. 

In Yucatan, the Public Health Services (SSY) gives training and certifies midwives. (Photo: Google)

She expressed that she has brought hundreds (maybe thousands), of girls and boys into the world, starting with the birth of her first grandchild. In addition, it has been recognized by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Yucatan Scientific Research Center (CICY), for being included in the book Biodiversity and Human Development in Yucatan.

Another example is that of Mrs. Rafaela Can Aké, 63 years old, from the Chumbek community in the municipality of Sudzal, who explained how she has dedicated for more than half her life to helping and guiding pregnant women and receiving their children, whether in a hammock, bed, underwater or on the floor. In total, he said that he has brought more than 500 babies into the world. She also assists medical personnel in some private hospitals, at the mother’s request.  

In 2014, she obtained a scholarship from the Semillas foundation to be a midwife leader and train other women, which has allowed her to integrate more allies from her community in this practice, as well as all her daughters, granddaughters, and daughters-in-law. On the other hand, he participates in the development of traditional medicine through his herbal experience.

Currently, this project manages the certification and recognition of these and other practitioners of this trade, making sure that they attend births with hygiene and basic equipment. Thus, the procurement and conservation of culture are foreseen, as an ancestral activity in Mayan medicine and massages, commonly called “sobadas“.

Midwives are a benchmark in their communities and are great allies of public health agencies to contribute to the reduction of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality, with an intercultural approach and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples. 

For example, after the pandemic, in Chumbek, home births increased by 600 percent, by virtue of which, they deserve great recognition as a fundamental part in the care of health management, to help mothers of both rural and urban communities to give birth.

That is why, since 2014, the Yucatan Health Services (SSY) through the Sanitary Jurisdiction number 1, have been strengthening the work of midwives through counseling, supervision and training on issues related to maternal and perinatal health , which is aligned with the present project, promoted by the APBPY.