Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
On-line version ISSN 1680-5348
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
O'ROURKE, Kathleen; HOWARD-GRABMAN, Lisa and SEOANE, Guillermo. Impact of community organization of women on perinatal outcomes in rural Bolivia. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1998, vol.3, n.1, pp.9-14. ISSN 1680-5348. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891998000100002.
An intervention to improve maternal and child health was conducted in a remote Bolivian province with limited access to modern medical facilities. The intervention focused on initiating and strengthening women's organizations, developing women's skills in problem identification and prioritization, and training community members in safe birthing techniques. Its impact was evaluated by comparing perinatal mortality rates and obstetric behavior among 409 women before and after the intervention. Perinatal mortality decreased from 117 deaths per 1 000 births before the intervention to 43.8 deaths per 1 000 births after. There was a significant increase in the number of women participating in women's organizations following the intervention, as well as in the number of organizations. The proportion of women receiving prenatal care and initiating breast-feeding on the first day after birth was also significantly larger. The number of infants attended to immediately after delivery likewise increased, but the change was not statistically significant. This study demonstrates that community organization can improve maternal and child health in remote areas.