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MIDWIFERY IN NORTHERN BELIZE

Authors

  • Diane B. Boyer CNM, PhD, FACNM,

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    • Diane Boyer is an associate professor of maternal-child nursing and coordinator of the Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Program at Loyola University Chicago. She has a part-time clinical practice at Chicago Health Outreach, a clinic for homeless and immigrant people. During her 22 years of midwifery practice and teaching, she has volunteered as a midwife, teacher, and consultant in Belize and Kenya.

  • Carrie Klima CNM, MS,

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    • Carrie Klima is an assistant professor at the Yale University School of Nursing Nurse-Midwifery Program and a doctoral student at the University of Connecticut. She received a master of science degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago Nurse-Midwifery Educational Program and a baccalaureate degree in nursing from Loyola University Chicago. She began to visit and work in Belize in 1992 with a group from the Loyola University School of Nursing.

  • Judith Jennrich RN, PhD

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    • Judith Jennrich is an associate professor of medical-surgical nursing and coordinator of the Acute Care Master's Program at the Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago. She has escorted nursing and medical students to Belize annually since 1992, and in 1995 was a Fulbright Scholar in Belize.


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ABSTRACT

During several volunteer experiences in the Corozal District in Northern Belize, the authors worked with and interviewed traditional midwives, midwife educators, administrators, and professional midwives, who practice in public health clinics, rural health outposts, and a government hospital. One interview with a traditional midwife from a rural Mayan village, garnered interesting information about her 63-year practice, which is compared with the practice of professional midwives. Issues important to midwifery and health care in Belize are discussed. The interviews and the authors' own experiences reveal changing birthing practices, as well as the continued importance of midwives in the care of childbearing women in Northern Belize.

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