Reproductive Health for Indigenous Women

Let’s work together to prevent maternal death in rural Indigenous communities and promote women’s reproductive health

Asociación Sakombal Pokon


Our story

Donations in Action

The indigenous women’s’ reproductive health project is composed of health and education services for remote villages in the municipality of San Cristobal Verapaz, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, Central America. It serves a population of 6,700 people, who belong to Pokomchí and Queq’chi indigenous people groups.

With your donations, you will cover a nurse’s salary
for a year. This nurse speaks Pokomchi, Quek’chi, and Spanish. The nurse will
be at the health post Mon- Friday, attending to the health needs of the general
population. The health post serves 12 communities. Health care for women in
fertile ages and pregnant women is given priority.

Nurse Responsibilities:

  • Daily health consults
at the Health Post
  • Prenatal care
  • Home visits to
pregnant women with health complications and new mothers/newborns
  • Twice annual teaching
sessions for traditional midwives which will strengthen their knowledge and
care of pregnant women
  • Twice annual teaching
sessions for pregnant women and their spouses – topics: responsible parenting,
care of women’s reproductive health, family planning, and the creation of
emergency birth plans
  • Medical Care during
home births
  • Accompany women to
the hospital for births as needed when complications arise

The health care that is offered is an opportunity to
gain confidence amongst the women and promote attendance in the teaching
sessions. This will strengthen the husband and wives’ knowledge and influence
positive changes in women’s health, and help to stop the pattern of male
chauvinism that exists amongst men.

This will maintain a rate of zero maternal deaths, increase the use of family planning methods, and improve the sharing of responsibilities between husbands and wives during pregnancies, and promote valuing the work of traditional midwives. The education will not just impact these participants, but future generations as well.

Of particular value is that the project serves remote communities, providing care to a vulnerable indigenous population. This services is provided by qualified health professionals, in the population’s mother tongue.

Challenge to Address:

Lack of maternal/ infant health care in isolated ruralareas

Isolated rural communities have the highest rate of
lack of access to appropriate health care services. This affects the entire
population, but poor, uneducated, indigenous women of fertile age are the ones
most affected by this. Furthermore, the minimal health care that is provided by
the Guatemalan Ministry of Health is often not provided in these women’s
language or cultural context, which increases the risk of maternal/infant

Project Importance

This project contributes to decreasing maternal death.
According to official sources, Alta Verapaz has the 2nd highest maternal death
rate in Guatemala. According to the 2000-2018 report on maternal mortality from
the public health/ social services ministry, Alta Verapaz had 50 deaths in
2017. From January to March 2018, there were 8 maternal deaths. The rate for
maternal mortality in Guatemala in 2017 was 106 deaths per 100,000 births.

Since starting the project of providing health care in
small health posts in 2007, as described previously, ASOSAP has been able to
decrease maternal deaths in the areas where we work. During 11 years, we only
have had a total of 4 maternal deaths. In communities where we do not work,
they have at least 1 maternal death a year, often more.

We are convinced that the integrated health care and
education strengthens the knowledge of families and is the key to make changes
in their lives, especially in regard to reproductive health. The excellent,
culturally sensitive health care that is offered to isolated areas saves lives of
women, who are the most vulnerable. 

Project Objectives

Continue providing Integrated Health Care in the
health posts – serving 100% of the population with health consults, medication,
and education for women and their spouses and midwives

Contribute to the use of informed decision making
regarding the use of family planning methods, which will continue improving the
reproductive health of women

Use of Donations

As a non-profit organization that has been transparent
in our actions since 2004, if the funding goal is not met, the donations will
be used in the same project, only with some differences.

If we have the
following funds:

$ 25.00 – 1 month of
nurse transportation (12)

$ 50.00 – 25% of
teaching materials for education (4)

$ 75.00 – 25% of medical
supplies for health post (4)

$ 100.00 – medication
to treat 150 people (45)

$ 100.00 – 7 days of
a nurse salary (52)

$ 350.00 – 50% of the
cost of holding a teaching session for midwives, and pregnant women & their
spouses (2)

Organization Background

ASOSAP is a legally established non-profit organization in Guatemala. It is made up of Pokomchí staff who have been the fruit of empowerment, through education and mentoring. 

Since 2004, ASOSAP has been empowering women who live in remote rural areas that are inhabited by the indigenous Pokomchi population. Through creating partnerships with communities, confidence is gained from the community and health care and education can be offered to them. Through this, women can form their own opinions and make decisions in regard to their reproductive health. This education is done together with the women and their husbands, in order to influence change in the behavior of male chauvinism that is widespread in rural Guatemalan communities.

Since 2007, permanent health care has been offered in small health posts that are strategically located in sectors where various communities converge. Consults, medication, home birth care, education for women and men about their responsibilities in regard to women’s reproductive health, malnutrition prevention, and support/education for traditional midwives is provided free of charge. The health care that is offered in these neglected communities is excellent, complete care that is provided within patients’ cultural context as the care is provided by Pokomchí nurses. Importance is given to providing this health care with the support of the leadership group and/or traditional midwives in each community

For more information,
visit our website:




Kim Bridge

May Jesus Christ receive glory because of your excellent work!


Laura Pickering

From me and the Clearwater Christian Church in Clearwater, British Columbia, Canada, I send prayers and support. Please continue the work that my friends Bill and Linda Brierly began.


Jay & Lori Halderman

Continuar difundiendo el amor de Dios al pueblo Pokomchí.


Sara Haugen

Adelante, equipazo!


Irene Haugen

Prayers continue...


Wayne Gooden

From First United Methodist Church of McKinney Texas


Linda Brierly

This is definitely a worthy cause. A small amount can have a big impact! GIVE!


Jean Nelson


Jack & June Haugen


Linda Brierly


Jack & June Haugen





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