Frontline research users—the Indigenous Nancue Ñomndaa Community Health Promoters Network—gave birth to the Safe Birth in Cultural Safety initiative in Xochis. They experienced community resistance to top-down government policies, which tried to impose institutionalized pregnancy and childbirth, following western biomedical views and practices, in order to improve maternal and newborn health among indigenous populations—a common policy trend in Mexico and the Americas.
In search of an option that would take into account social and cultural traditions in their region, they laid the foundations for an intercultural research program involving academic and user partners from government and civil society, such as:
Centro de Investigación de Enfermedades Tropicales, Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero (CIETmexico), a postgraduate research centre of the Autonomous University of Guerrero. Since its founding in 1986, CIETmexico’s activities in teaching, research and technical support have been grounded in the realities of southeastern Guerrero, where it has trained and supported indigenous Nancue Ñomndaa health promoters to deal with tuberculosis, Chagas disease, parasitosis, diarrhoea control, reproductive health, prenatal care and nutrition.
CIETcanada, an academic NGO that has developed collaborative research, capacity building and knowledge translation networks with indigenous groups in different countries.
Guerrero State’s Health Secretariat, a key research user that provides institutional support to research activities, including surveys of government health units and technical and intercultural training of government health staff in the Costa Chica region of the state.
The municipalities of Xochistlahuaca and Tlacoachistlahuaca are also research users and supported our activities in the region. CIETmexico signed data sharing agreements with the municipality of Tlacoachistlahuaca and the comisariado ejidal of Xochistlahuaca. Ejidos are communal lands structured as communities or townships with their own board of directors or comisariado ejidal for decisions concerning the common property.
The Centro de Estudios Médicos Interculturales (CEMI), a non-governmental organization of Colombian medical practitioners advocating for intercultural health policies and practices, gave technical support to the Xochis intervention and will lead a proposed extension of Safe Birth in Cultural Safety in Colombia.
Other organizations of the civil society will join us as user partners on the extension of this trial to other indigenous groups in Mexico, among them:
Zihuame Xotlametzin, a Guerrero-based NGO that advocates for women’s rights, promotes their participation in economic activities; and helps them organize in groups of entrepreneurs and look for financing.
Coordinadora Guerrerense de Mujeres Indígenas y Afromexicanas (Coordinating Comittee of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican women in Guerrero), which promotes political, economic, social and health rights for indigenous and Afro-Mexican women in the state of Guerrero. Among other activities, they work to prevent maternal deaths in indigenous communities.
Comité por una Maternidad Segura y la Salud de las Mujeres en Guerrero, the regional branch of the most overarching multi-stakeholder initiative for the promotion of maternal and newborn health in Mexico.