Previous Next

High maternal and infant mortality rates have plagued rural Chiapas for decades, often due to the lack of accessible hospitals and modern lifesaving skills amongst midwives when faced with complicated or high-risk births in rural settings.

Some prominent obstacles include a lack of young women with the desire to learn the tradition; difficulty in organizing and receiving benefits, recognition, or pay for their work; as well as the constant challenge of more modern birthing techniques. Another issue is institutions taking precedence over, as opposed to complementing, traditional midwifery.

A possible solution, however, is emerging in Mexico via both public and private institutions: lifesaving skills training for these midwives, with the potential to merge traditional labor and delivery methods with more modern medical practices. While a reduction in maternal and infant mortality rates has been reported in Chiapas in recent years, a new problem is arising: the oversaturation of hospitals, often with high rates of “normal” births, thus creating difficulties for doctors to attend to high-risk births. In order for this complementary solution to work, traditional midwives must continue to deliver babies, particularly normal births, and pass their integrated skill set to future generations of midwives — something that has proven to be far easier said than done.

In collaboration with Global Pediatric Alliance (GPA), I spent three days photographing the midwives who participate in their programs.

Healthcare Photo Essay

 

About The Author

Nikhol Esterás Roberts

Nikhol is a photographer based out of Oaxaca, Mexico, where she documents themes related to social justice and human rights. Combining her passion for visual storytelling with social justice, she has been documenting many aspects of life in Mexico since 2010, often in collaboration with grassroots nonprofits working in impoverished regions of the country.

Taking pictures in a prison is a very sad experience.
For each kilogram of hardened yellow sulfur, a miner receives 900 rupiah.
Bodysurfers seem to blend into the ocean's landscape.
I find a surreal comfort in the rattling and screeching of the subway.
There is a mad and incredibly photogenic atmosphere in the old town of Varanasi.
It’s all one big story and it’s fascinating to explore the different ways of telling...
They cannot return home, just as they cannot leave Syria.
On fighting in the Red Army near Donetsk: "I lost a lot of childhood friends there."
Double exposures combining the spirit of London + New York.
This man asked if I'd mind waiting while he went and changed into his nicest shirt.
It is basically a class V paddling safari through Uganda’s largest national park.