The tender care of a midwife makes the difference for moms, babies

In rural Ecuador, midwife training and access is making a huge difference for maternal and child health.

Mercedes is one of 50 midwives who serve the rural communities surrounding Otavalo, Ecuador. She has been a midwife since age 18 and has known Miriam, 23, since Miriam was a girl.

Mercedes acts as a link between the two worlds of conventional and traditional healthcare. With World Vision’s support, Mercedes provides daily care through natural and traditional methods — she treats mom and baby with teas, creams, and soothing rubs she makes with plants from her garden — and provides guidance to both the mother and father as they step into parenting roles. This midwife care comes at little or no charge to the families.

To ensure young moms like Miriam get further care when they need it most, Mercedes also is linked to modern facilities and resources. And she is trained to provide basic emergency medical assistance if necessary.

More than anything, Mercedes says being a midwife is about saving mothers’ and babies’ lives.

“It’s about community, family, and my neighbors,” Mercedes says.

It’s also about investing in the next generation in the community. “Because maybe when I’m an old lady, they will take care of me.”

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