Delivering Safer Births: Connecting Indigenous Mothers, Midwives, Navigators, and Hospitals in Guatemala

Maternal & Infant Health Award
Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu’ Kawoq

Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu' Kawoq and safe+natal are scaling a smartphone application and accompaniment program to help indigenous midwives and care navigators support timely access to care and healthy births in Maya communities in rural Guatemala.

Last Updated: May 2023
Competition Participation
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Maternal & Infant Health Award
Maternal and perinatal health
Current Work Location(s):
  • Guatemala
  • Guatemala
Priority Population(s):
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Infants and toddlers
  • Low-income people
  • Pregnant people
  • Women and girls
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
  • 3. Good health and well-being
  • 5. Gender equality
  • 10. Reduced inequalities

Executive Summary

Guatemala has among the highest rates of maternal mortality in Latin America. Moreover, Mayan women are nearly twice as likely to die from preventable pregnancy-related conditions than non-indigenous women in Guatemala. These disparities are barriers to hospital-level care, including language, culture, distance, cost, and discrimination. Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu' Kawoq eliminates avoidable deaths from childbirth in rural Guatemala by equipping indigenous midwives with a checklist-based smartphone application to detect high-risk complications, connect with clinical support as needed, and provide care navigation when hospital services are required. Partners aim to scale this intervention from approximately 800 births to 10,000 births in rural Guatemala and reduce deaths by 80% across all sites. Since the program launched in 2016, mothers accessing hospital care for conditions such as preeclampsia and cesarean deliveries has increased significantly, and deaths from childbirth have dropped from 10 to .47 per 1,000 in the area where the program operates.

Organization Details
Lead Organization

Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu’ Kawoq

Organization Headquarters
Organization ID
EIN 20-8741625
Number of Full-time Employees
51 to 100
Annual Operating Budget
$1.0 to 5 Million

Charity, fund, non-governmental organization, religious institution, school, or other entity

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