Improving quality of maternal health care for indigenous women in Argentina, Mexico, and Peru

Latin America is home to the greatest inequities in the world, including inequality in access to quality health services. Indigenous peoples have the poorest health in the region, due to such factors as geographic isolation, limited access to safe water, sanitation and food, and a poor understanding of, and sensitivity to, cultural beliefs and practices. Among the indicators of greatest concern is the high rate of maternal mortality. Indigenous women consistently experience higher maternal mortality rates than non-indigenous women in Latin America.

Efforts to improve maternal health for indigenous women and adolescent girls must be based on a clear understanding of how to provide and measure high-quality care that ensures adequate health outcomes with dignity. This project examines quality of care from a cultural and a technical perspective in three indigenous communities in Mexico, Peru, and Argentina. Each of these three case studies will explore perceptions of quality care among indigenous women, and will involve collection and analysis of data using a customized framework for quality of care indicators.

The study will examine the implementation of integrated health service delivery networks in all the three countries. These networks are designed to coordinate different health providers and services and each country is implementing them differently. The three case studies will examine how the networks positively or negatively influence quality of care processes and outcomes. Results from the individual case studies and from the project as a whole are expected to inform strategies for scaling up efforts to improve quality of maternal care for indigenous populations.

Expected outputs include scientific publications in Spanish- and English-language journals, and information sharing via community groups, the local press and social media.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Friday, January 1, 2016


36 months

IDRC Officer

Sinha, Chaitali

Total funding

CA$ 599,290


Americas, Argentina, South America, Mexico, North and Central America, Peru

Project Leader



Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia

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Project Leader

Gustavo Nigenda


Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos

Institution Country


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Project Leader

Daniel Maceira


Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad

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