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Revista Cubana de Salud Pública

versión impresa ISSN 0864-3466versión On-line ISSN 1561-3127


CARVAJAL BARONA, Rocio et al. Academic and political outlook to traditional midwives in Latin America. Rev Cubana Salud Pública [online]. 2018, vol.44, n.3, e1061. ISSN 0864-3466.


Births in ethnic populations in Latin America are still being attended by traditional midwifes. The conceptual and theoretical outlook to this practice varies among different actors, influencing on proposed policies and interventions for this group.


To analyze the political overview of traditional midwives through a critic intercultural scope.

Data sources:

In this descriptive study, a review of academic documents, technical documents and regulations was made, identifying conceptual, approach and political topics related to traditional midwives. The data was summarized in a matrix and analyzed through the method of consecutive approximations. Methodological triangulation was made among researchers, disciplines, techniques and information sources on the topic.

Data synthesis:

The academic community makes a distinction among traditional midwives and professional midwives. International organizations promote professional midwifery just for difficult geographical access locations. Latin-American governments have different positions from the hegemonic overview of the biomedical model in health toward midwifery.


Traditional midwives remain in an ambiguous political arena undermining their role, generating a loss of the cultural heritage of the countries as they are not being recognized, not being linked to the health system as service providers, but being community actors that inform, educate and refer to the health services the maternal and neonatal cases.

Palabras clave : Midwife; tradition; interculturality; Latin America.

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