Solola District Hospital Project


Sololá Guatemala, a district with a high population of indigenous people, has for years been an area with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Guatemala.


Many women are dying of preventable complications during pregnancy and labour, largely due to a mistrust of health services and health services not adapted to their cultural needs.

A young Mayan midwife provides prenatal care at the community level

The SOGC helps support the District Hospital of Sololá in opening their hospital to the indigenous population, including their traditional birth attendants. A basic tenet of the project is that a multifaceted solution will make the most significant impact on maternal mortality in the region. Some principles of the Solola project:

  • Make the hospital friendly to traditional midwives by permitting them to accompany the birthing women during labor and delivery;
  • Use practices that are not harmful and based on clinical evidence;
  • Ensure an obstetrician is on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year;
  • Train obstetricians and other health professionals involved in obstetrics with AMSTL (Active Management of the Third Stage of Labour) and the ALARM International Program;
  • Ensure compliance with humanitarian support and practices in the region linking this to traditional midwife practice.


Midwife integration into the hospital began in 1995, with community meetings between midwives and hospital staff. By 1997, midwives were able to accompany their patients to the hospital.


After a period of interaction and exchange, in 2000 full integration was undertaken, with midwives starting 24-hour shifts at the hospital.


The role of midwives:

  • Enable communication between (mostly indigenous ) women and doctors;
  • Provide trained assistance during labour, birth, and post-labour;
  • Ensure comfort among women through the use of traditional practices (massages, tea, birthing positions) to make women feel more comfortable;.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Landry

The role of midwives (continued):

  • Provide support following Cesarean section;
  • Help with newborn care;
  • Provide specified support to nurses;
  • Provide emotional support to women and their families.