The indigenous Achuar Nation of Ecuador (NAE) is made up of approximately 10,000 individuals who face significant health inequities in comparison with other population groups in Ecuador. Among the health inequities of concern are infant and maternal mortality rates -- best estimates indicate that they are 3-4 times higher than Ecuador’s national ratio.
Ikiama Nukurí, which means “Women as Defenders of the Forest” in the Achuar language, is an intercultural community-based health program of The Pachamama Alliance that incorporates transferable practices of Achuar birthing traditions and midwifery. The program was co-founded in 2006 by Shuar leader and activist, Narcisa Mashienta and midwife, Margaret Love, in response to the Achuar women’s expressed desire to improve their own health.
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The mission of Ikiama Nukuri is to build collective power among indigenous women and to amplify their voices in order to improve maternal, infant, and reproductive health of indigenous nations of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Ikiama Nukuri has served more than 1,500 women between 2013 and 2019, without a single maternal death. Ikiama Nukuri has trained a cadre of 64 indigenous women to work as Community Health Workers (CHWs) in their own communities to conduct prenatal visits, attend births, provide postpartum care, and—when necessary—refer them to the public healthcare system. These 64 CHWs currently work in 77% of the Achuar territory to improve the access to adequate prenatal and postpartum care.
For more information visit: https://www.pachamama.org/advocacy/ikiama-nukuri
Co-Founder and Program Director: Narcisa Mashienta
Program Coordinator: Michelle Soto