Healthy Mothers and Babies in Guatemala (Utz’ Na’n)

Healthy Mothers and Babies in Guatemala (Utz’ Na’n)

Guatemala Vaccination highlight inset image

Guatemala Passes New Vaccine Law

The Guatemalan government recently enacted a National Vaccine Law ensuring free and universal access to vaccines. Congratulations to one of the strongest advocates of the bill, Observatorio en Salud Sexual y Reproductiva (OSAR), MSH’s partner on the Healthy Mothers and Babies in Guatemala project. This is a huge win for health advocates as it creates a legal platform to advance the uptake of life-saving vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines.


The Healthy Mothers and Babies in Guatemala project (2021-2024) is working to improve the health of pregnant indigenous women and their newborns in the departments of Quetzaltenango and San Marcos by increasing access to and use of high-quality, culturally respectful antenatal care (ANC). The project, known in the local language as Utz’ Na’n, expands on the work carried out under the Strengthening Antenatal Care for Indigenous Women in Guatemala project (2019-2021). The project has demonstrated increases in early use and adherence of ANC among indigenous pregnant women and adolescents, as well as improvements in quality of care (ie, use of lab results for decision making, tracking clients by gestational age, client record keeping).

The main objectives of the project are to:

  • Increase early uptake and adherence of prenatal care (individual and group) through the implementation of community mobilization strategies (including remote counseling)
  • Improve the quality of prenatal care services that are culturally relevant and meet the needs of pregnant indigenous women and adolescents
  • Generate evidence and learning to inform the creation and review of culturally sensitive standard operating regulations and procedures, which will improve the availability, acceptability, and quality of prenatal care services among indigenous women and adolescents

Approaches to achieving project goals include:

  • Creating a strong, ongoing focus on community engagement and social accountability
  • Engage and equip comadronas, traditional midwives, to reach pregnant women and promote linkages to health facilities  
  • Engaging and empowering women, men, and young people through gender and youth strategies
  • Implementing participatory planning and monitoring
  • Strengthening district-level planning and monitoring and the capacities of local partners and stakeholders

Over three years, the project expects to increase use of facility-based ANC services by indigenous women and adolescents, improve the quality of ANC services at the facilities, and generate evidence and learning for future initiatives. 

Headshot of Felipe Lopez
Felipe López

Project Director

Project Contact

Dr. Felipe López, a physician and surgeon, has over 30 years of global experience in health, providing technical assistance to Guatemalan institutions and the ministries and secretaries of health of the Mesoamerican region (Mexico to Panama). He has a background in maternal and child care, family planning, HIV and AIDS, primary health care, monitoring and evaluation, human resources for health, training and health training manuals, and quality assurance in health administration and management. Dr. López graduated from the University of San Carlos de Guatemala with a specialty in sexual and reproductive health and a postgraduate degree in epidemiology. He also has postgraduate degrees in re-engineering and quality assurance from the Francisco Marroquin University.

Donors & Partners


Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies


Asociación PIES de Occidente (PIES)

Observatory for Sexual and Reproductive Health (OSAR)