Relacahupan, South America
Relacahupan: Red Latinoamericana y el Caribe para la Humanización del Parto y el Nacimiento
‘Women must play the leading role in the birth of their children’, is the belief of the Relacahupan network, which spans 20 countries in Latin America and involves hundreds of groups of activists, midwives, doctors, and other health workers. At the beginning of Relacahupan in 2000, it seemed that women throughout Latin America had lost their ability to make decisions about their pregnancies and childbirths. The process had been medicalised and controlled to such a degree that the percentage of births by caesarian had risen as high as 40% in the public sector and near 90% in the private sector in some countries.
Relacahupan conducts training and lobbying activities to guarantee the rights of women to make informed decisions about pregnancy and childbirth with an emphasis on the benefits of natural birth. The organisation is building solidarity between traditional midwives and professionally trained midwives. Traditional midwives are acquiring knowledge of childbirth laws and standards of care. Professionally trained midwives are learning about herbs and traditional delivery practices. Relacahupan also works closely with international organisations to defend the professional and traditional role of midwives.
Relacahupan works with national governments to pass laws and decrees to make sure that the humanization of childbirth is carried forward. The organisation is helping to implement new standards of care throughout Latin America, based on women’s rights to be informed and involved at every stage of pregnancy, birth and after birth. In 2002, the network was instrumental in passing the Law of Midwives in Uruguay that requires midwives be available to women at hospitals and that empowers midwives to attend births without the supervision of doctors. The network is working to implement and strengthen these rights in Uruguay and other Latin American countries.
Relacahupan received grants from Mama Cash in 2002, 2003, 2007 en 2008.