We face unique challenges, addressing cultural barriers, access limitations and resource shortages to ensure essential health care in the communities that need it most.
Most Amazonian communities are isolated, with little or no health systems, and the distances to health centers are enormous. This leaves pregnant women and newborns without the necessary care. Furthermore, the available centers lack cultural relevance to the Amazonian indigenous communities. The data found in the research we did before the start of Mamás del Río was:

65% of the women in these communities give birth at home and of them, only 7% receive assistance from trained health personnel during childbirth.

In many rural communities, home births are common, assisted by traditional birth attendants or family birth attendants. Despite the valuable role of midwives, the lack of training and resources to manage complications increases the risks for mothers and babies.

In some communities, colostrum is mistakenly believed to be harmful as it is seen as a different color and texture, which can cause mothers to not give it to their babies, depriving them of essential nutrients in their early days.

Before Mamas del Río, colostrum consumption only reached 39%, while exclusive breastfeeding during the first three days of life was 87%.

Newborns in these communities face risks of neonatal sepsis and pneumonia from practices such as the use of ashes, herbs, or oils on the umbilical cord; as well as baths from the first day of birth, added to the lack of basic knowledge about neonatal care, which increases the risk of mortality.

Institutional deliveries reach only 35%, likewise, early newborn check-ups reach only 8%

Very long distances, limited access, lack of resources such as gasoline or money to pay for the trip, in addition to the distrust in traditional health systems that many mothers feel, are additional challenges.

Mamas del Río has assumed the responsibility of improving maternal and child health in the Peruvian Amazon, training community agents, training traditional midwives and health personnel, and raising community awareness. With these efforts, she seeks to overcome barriers to access and knowledge to ensure a healthier future for women and newborns, marking a new chapter in the history of community health.

The communities

In general, the native communities of these districts have a population composed mainly of the Kukama Kukamiria ethnic group. Their daily lives face significant challenges, including extreme poverty, inequality, and limited access to basic services and quality education, exacerbated by their remote location. Dependence on fishing and subsistence agriculture makes them vulnerable to climatic and economic factors. Furthermore, environmental degradation and climate change threaten their livelihoods and health, creating difficulties in accessing essential health services and increasing their vulnerability. These factors contribute to cycles of generational poverty and inequalities in these disadvantaged communities.

What we found?

Our baseline research study revealed critical gaps in essential newborn care (ERNC) in both home and facility-based births. Of the 65% of mothers who give birth at home, 93% lack assistance from trained health personnel. The absence of basic infrastructure, such as electricity and clean water, and lack of access to emergency obstetric care are common. Our research identified nine key neonatal care indicators that needed significant improvement:

Immediate drying of the baby

It was found that only 77% of babies were dried immediately at birth.

Skin to skin contact

Only 9% of babies were placed on their mother's breast immediately after birth.

Baby bath

Only 80% of mothers waited at least a day to bathe their babies.

Umbilical cord clamping

78% practiced clean cord tying after cutting it

Clean cut of the umbilical cord

80% realizaba corte limpio del cordón umbilical.

Cleaning the umbilical cord

Proper cleaning of the cord was only practiced in 59%, in other cases substances such as oils or ashes were used.

Colostrum consumption

Only 39% of mothers gave colostrum to their babies, the rest of them threw it away because, since it was yellow, they thought it was harmful to the baby.

Early initiation of breastfeeding

Only 64% of mothers gave their baby breast milk before the first hour of birth.

Exclusive breastfeeding

Finally, 87% gave only breast milk to the baby, at least during the first 3 days of birth.

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