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15 August, 2013

Indigenous women demand medical attention that respects their culture

The Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas reminded states of their commitment to guarantee intercultural health services.

In Montevideo, the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas reminded states of their commitment to guarantee intercultural health services.

The request was made during the First Meeting of the Regional Conference on Population and Development of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The recognition of handed-down knowledge, indigenous physicians, traditional midwives, and the worldview of indigenous peoples in health systems, was requested by the indigenous women of the three Americas at the First Meeting of the Regional Conference on Population and Development of Latin America and the Caribbean.

In a public declaration, the member organizations of the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas (ECMIA in spanish), pointed out that intercultural health is still pending on their countries’ agendas. A delegation of female leaders arrived at Montevideo, Uruguay last Monday to present indigenous women’s demands at the Post 2015 Development Agenda, 2015 being the target year to reach the Millennium Development Goals.

ECMIA reminded states that they have the “duty to safeguard and guarantee the highest level of intercultural health, which considers the sexual and reproductive rights and the maternal health of indigenous women as a fundamental component of the right to health”.

According to these indigenous organizations, the reduction in maternal mortality is much slower among indigenous adolescents, youth and women because, in large measure, they inhabit areas which are inaccessible for geographical reasons.

Likewise, education, training and information on sexual and reproductive health among male and female adolescents are indispensable in communities and schools if adolescent pregnancies and the proliferation of STD and HIV/AIDS are to be avoided.

The indigenous women of the Americas also expressed their consternation regarding the use of indigenous children as subjects for clinical experiments in Canada. “No democratic states that respect human rights can permit these acts, which are harmful to our humanity”, they declared.

At the Montevideo Conference, participating countries will compare the achievements and progress made these past 20 years with the objectives and measures of the Cairo Programme of Action.

The debate on population and development includes not only empowerment of women as a mainstay, but also a focus on the situation of adolescents, indigenous peoples and those of African descent, and on topics such as migrations, and sexual and reproductive health, which are keystones for the autonomy of women.

Indigenous Women of the Amerias en route to Cairo+20