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Saving the lives of mothers and children in Bolivia

As a Bolivian woman living in a rural area, Florencia Gomez Condori has a 1 in 89 chance of dying while pregnant or giving birth, compared to a risk of 1 in 11,000 for a Canadian woman.

But thanks to Canada's long-term support of maternal and infant health programs in Bolivia, such risks for women like Florencia and their children are decreasing dramatically.

Midwife and mother holding her baby © ACDI-CIDA/Stephen Edgar
New mother Florencia Gomez Condori and her baby with Doña Gregoria Calle, a midwife and healer, in the birthing room (Bolivia).

In Florencia's hometown, a small village in the Altiplano, traditional midwives are playing a key role in providing a safe place to give birth, combining traditional health practices with modern medicine. CIDA funds this clinic through a partnership with CECI (Center for International Studies and Cooperation), a Canadian non-governmental organization.

CIDA is also supporting a large program with the Bolivian government and UNICEF to improve the health of women and children in three other regions of Bolivia. And good results are beginning to come in: infant mortality rates in the Department of Oruro have dropped by an impressive 35 percent since 2004.