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Preventable infant deaths, lone births and lack of registration in Mexican indigenous communities: health care services and the afterlife of colonialism

Gamlin, J; Osrin, D; (2018) Preventable infant deaths, lone births and lack of registration in Mexican indigenous communities: health care services and the afterlife of colonialism. Ethnicity & Health 10.1080/13557858.2018.1481496. Green open access

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Abstract

Mexico's indigenous communities continue to experience higher levels of mortality and poorer access to health care services than non-indigenous regions, a pattern that is repeated across the globe. We conducted a two-year ethnographic study of pregnancies and childbirth in an indigenous Wixárika community to explore the structural causes of this excess mortality. In the process we also identified major differences between official infant mortality rates, and the numbers of infants born to women in our sample who did not survive. We interviewed 67 women during pregnancy and followed-up after the birth of their child. At baseline, socio-demographic data was collected as well as information regarding birthing intentions. In depth-interviews and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 62 of these women after the birth of their child, using a checklist of questions. Women were asked about choices regarding, and experiences of childbirth. Of the 62 women we interviewed at follow-up 33 gave birth at home without skilled attendance and five gave birth completely alone in their homes. Five neonates died during labour or the perinatal period. Concerns about human resources, the structure of service delivery and unwanted interventions during childbirth all appear to contribute to the low institutional childbirth rate. Our data also suggests a low rate of death registration, with the custom of burying infants where they die. This excess mortality, occurring in the context of unnecessary lone and unassisted childbirth are structurally generated forms of violence.

Type: Article
Title: Preventable infant deaths, lone births and lack of registration in Mexican indigenous communities: health care services and the afterlife of colonialism
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13557858.2018.1481496
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/13557858.2018.1481496
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Indigenous, Mexico, infant mortality, maternal health, stillbirth
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10051460
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