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A Network of Midwives
The sexual and reproductive health care needs are big in San Juan de Lurigancho, the most populated district in Peru. Located in Lima—Peru's capital city—the neighborhood is home to nearly one million people and is plagued by urban poverty. Fortunately, the people living in San Juan de Lurigancho have dedicated health care providers who work to meet their needs.
Herlinda Gonzalez is a 42-year-old woman with a round face and short, wavy hair that is neatly combed back. This style allows her eyes and smile to shine, and her warmth provides people with assurance. Herlinda is part of RedPlan Salud, a national network of skilled midwives that work with our Peruvian partner, INPPARES, to ensure that Peru’s most vulnerable people can access affordable, high-quality health care close to home. It's not surprising to find every seat in her waiting room taken by women like Lily Pozo.
Lily could go to a public health clinic that is closer to where she lives in Villa Maria del Triumfo. Instead, she chooses to travel thirty minutes on a bus to see a midwife that she trusts.
“When I am with Dr. Herlinda, it’s as if I were with a friend,” she says.
Elsewhere in Peru, another midwife, Zunilda, has a clinic on a busy street. The sounds of passing traffic fill the room, but she is still able to maintain her focus. A woman in her fifties, Zunilda remembers a time in Peru before family planning services were available. “Before, midwives didn’t have any contraceptives and could only write prescriptions, but now, through INPPARES, I’m able to give the products to my patients."
To reach remote and rural communities, INPPARES partners with this trusted network of midwives at RedPlan Salud. This partnership is a win-win: INPPARES provides the midwives with training and technical assistance, as well as access to contraceptives that are affordable to low-income women. Because the midwives are trusted members of their communities, RedPlan's network has grown from 50 to over 1,600 midwife clinics operating not only in Lima, but also in nine other regions of Peru, increasing access to contraception and other health services for those who need it most.