Family Care International
(FCI) has been involved in advocacy to strengthen safe motherhood programs and policies, and expand women’s and adolescents’ choices in Bolivia since 1996. We are an active member and secretariat of the National Safe Motherhood Committee, and help to coordinate the National Inter-Agency Task Force on Maternal Mortality Reduction. These groups advocate for safe motherhood strategies in the context of the Regional Strategic Consensus on Maternal Mortality Reduction. To support these efforts, FCI facilitates forums on promoting skilled care and the role of the mid-level provider, including workshops with instructors from the schools of public health and nursing.
Promoting Reproductive Health and Rights for Rural and Indigenous Women
Throughout Latin America, rural and indigenous women have little access to reproductive health care and virtually no culturally appropriate education materials. Working with the Conference of Indigenous Peoples of Bolivia (CIDOB), in 2001 FCI developed ¡Cuídate! [Take Care!]—a series of easy-to-use materials, including five brochures and a flipchart—specifically for use among indigenous communities in the Bolivian lowlands. FCI also developed a training curriculum and held workshops for health promoters in Bolivia to increase their capacity to provide health education using the flipchart among indigenous communities.
To date, we have trained outreach workers, who have visited several thousand communities with ¡Cuidate!’s important messages. In addition, FCI is working with local partners in the Bolivian lowlands to help increase awareness of the national maternity health insurance and help communities monitor both the quality of and access to care.
Promoting culturally sensitive maternity care
In Bolivia, many indigenous women still prefer to labor at home rather than take advantage of free hospital care, which often unfortunately comes packaged with insensitive treatment at the hands of medical professionals — like the doctor who chided a patient for her “dirty rituals,” or hospitals that turn away women with serious labor complications because they first tried to give birth at home. The continued preference for home birth helps explain why the maternal mortality ratio has remained high in many of Bolivia’s rural areas. Working with the support of the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development, FCI Bolivia has begun implementing a project that identifies and addresses the cultural barriers that prevent indigenous women from seeking free maternal health services, and trains doctors and nurses to build cultural sensitivity into their treatment of patients. Read more here (Spanish only).
Working for Community-level HIV/AIDS Prevention and Education
In Bolivia, most HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment efforts are centered in urban areas and do not reach rural populations. In 2003, FCI conducted qualitative research on HIV prevention efforts focused on indigenous peoples in Bolivia. The findings of this study highlighted the need for communication and prevention strategies that respond to the particular cultural priorities and values of indigenous groups.
In January 2006, FCI began a project to address the issues of HIV prevention, transmission, and stigmatization at the community level in the Department of Pando, which borders Brazil and Peru. This project aims to promote a supportive policy environment on HIV and AIDS for vulnerable communities and involve indigenous networks and leaders in policy development and decision making at the local and national levels.
As part of the project, FCI and partners undertook a study to identify knowledge, attitudes, and practices on HIV and AIDS among five indigenous groups in Pando. The findings of this research were shared in the publication "Pueblos Indígenas, ITS, VHI y SIDA," which demonstrates the importance of expanding prevention efforts to underserved areas. Another component of the project consisted of training health promoters on STDs and HIV prevention, and to help equip them with culturally-sensitive health education tools for their outreach work in the rural communities of Pando. Click here to see our brochure on HIV prevention.
Prevention and Management of Violence Against Women in Pando and Sucumbíos
In Bolivia and Ecuador, FCI works with local partners to raise awareness about and develop strategies to address violence against women in indigenous communities.
For more information contact:
Calle Rosendo Gutierrez, 111, piso 2
Frente a la Cinemateca
La Paz, Bolivia
Tel: (591) 2 244 5272
E-mail: fcibolivia [@] fcimail [.] org
Family Care International
Latin America and Caribbean Program
588 Broadway, Suite 503
New York, NY 10012
Tel : (212) 941-5300
Fax: (212) 941-5563
E-mail: fcilac [@] fcimail [.] org