Funny I just saw a report on PBS that relates to this:
The vast majority happen in remote areas, 99 percent of them in developing countries. In Peru, a new national strategy to turn those numbers around is taking shape. And the program is being seen as a model for Latin America and the developing world.
Here, in the remote region of Ayacucho, 12,000 feet above sea level, sits the village of Vilcashuaman. Many hours from the nearest airstrip, it’s a town so remote that even the impressive Inca ruins draw few tourists.
A casa materna, or birthing home, was built for women late in pregnancy to live in as their due date nears. And it’s a centerpiece in the government’s new strategy.
Dr. Oscar Ugarte Ubillus is Peru’s health minister.
DR. OSCAR UGARTE UBILLUS, Peruvian health minister (through translator): We detected that one of the critical problems is the amount of time and distance it takes to get attention when complications arise in childbirth. So, we have created 450 waiting homes throughout the country.
RAY SUAREZ: At the casa materna in Vilcashuaman, pregnant women bring their children. They make their own meals with ingredients from a hospital garden, and live as if at home.
Twenty-nine-year-old Eulalia Centro is here with her 1-year-old daughter. Eulalia had her first child at home without complications, before the birthing home existed. But she lives in an area with no roads. It takes a full day on horseback just to get to Vilcashuaman.
So, Eulalia chose to have her second, then her third child at the birthing home.
EULALIA CENTRO, mother (through translator): Pregnant women are always dying at home, so that is why we decided to come here.
RAY SUAREZ: The birthing home is occupied nearly every day of the year. Pregnancies in the region are tracked with a simple felt map. The circles represent each pregnant woman’s home and the number of hours it takes to reach them.
Red felt represents pregnant teenagers, at greater risk for death in childbirth because their bodies haven’t fully matured. Twenty-four-hour staff are trained to deal with obstetric emergencies, like breech babies, placenta blockage, and hemorrhaging.
Josefina Montes Perez is an OB-GYN at the casa.
They did not try to build an air conditioned hospital, with a helicopter pad filled with 1.5 million $$$ a year doctors. They made it a place where they grow their own food, heat water with the sun, use natural herbs for labor and have an an ambulance, with blood and someone who knows how to control the bleeding if there is a problem. They cut the mortality rate by 50%. You can supply healthcare to people cheap. You can not supply industrial healthcare cheap…what got me to thinking about this?
The mission of Green Medicine™ is to investigate and support research efforts on medicinal substances and medical foods from Peru.
ABOUT GREEN MEDICINE
GREEN MEDICINE is the website for information on Dr. Williams’ research in the upper Amazon under the Institute for Amazonian Studies (IAS), which he founded in 1996, and the Pino Center for Traditional Healing in 2004. His intention is to advance the mission of Green Medicine by working closely with Peruvian research organizations, individual investigators, universities, socially and environmentally responsible businesses, and traditional tribes of the upper Amazon and Andes for the purpose of exploring the following areas of study:
Evolutionary Biology in Tropical Rainforests:
- Fragmentation of natural ecosystems
- Robustness of plant and animal evolution and behavior
- Complexity theory in natural ecosystems
Basic Research in the Therapeutic Value of Natural Compounds from Plants and Other Biological Substances
- Development of rainforest botanical and biological medicines and extracts from natural products including antiviral, anticancer, immunomodulatory, and health promoting adaptogenic substances
Healing Methods and Medicines of Traditional Tribal Peoples
- Ethnobotanical investigation for new plant medicines
- Ethnomedical investigation of indigenous healing practices in addition to plant medicines
- Consciousness exploration among indigenous people involving natural entheogenic compounds and medicinal plants
Dr. Williams has been working in Latin American since 1969 and in Peru since 1996.
For information on his books and integrative medicine practice, visit www.drjewilliams.com.
To view his site on shamanic healing, go to www.andeancodex.com.