In anticipation of International Day of Action for Women’s Health, Ecuadorean Indigenous women from the Angochagua community welcome the event with a demonstration of traditional medicine Tuesday.
Regional health authorities participated in the exhibition which explored the ancestral practices that serve the dual purpose of reflection and education for the community.
"We in our communities have training programs for young people so that when we are old, this knowledge is not lost," Josefina Lima, a representative of the Kichwa Otavalo people, explained.
Lima said the event gives Indigenous societies the opportunity to share their knowledge of ancestral medicine while affording the community, as a whole, to grow through the healthy exchange of information.
This is the second educational program of its type in the district. According to resident Health Director Harvi Reascos, mutual respect for the traditions of the native culture is vitally important to the community.
"Our vision will always be to promote the complementarity of ancestral medicine for the benefit of the community, as well as to strengthen the articulated work with the intercultural health experts and in this way generate inclusion conditions, joint work strategies," he said.
Local government's interest in traditional medical practices of its indigenous communities shows a positive development in building relations.
In some local hospitals, medical professionals have introduced "vertical delivery," a typical form of childbirth in native communities, into their natal units in an effort to coax indigenous women to give birth in their facilities.
In an interview with Anthropologist Carmen Mozo Gonzalez, one Quichua Otavaleña woman, midwife, medical student, and community leader, Mercedes, explained "We call it home birth, but the scientists, the connoisseurs say, 'vertical birth.' For us, it is home birth, with support from relatives, as well. We told the director, 'we want to implement vertical delivery.' You have to talk with technical words for the directors!"
However, maternal and child mortality rates – due to infection, illnesses, and postpartum hemorrhaging or other health complications – have decreased considerably, as a result.
A month of events has been planned ahead of the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, which falls on May 28. Some of the activities include a beauty pageant and an Olympics event for seniors and people with disabilities.