Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Kate Centellas

Second Advisor

Oliver Dinius

Third Advisor

Mikäela Adams

Relational Format



Article 32 of the 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution states that all citizens have the right to intercultural healthcare, which combines traditional and western medical practices. This thesis investigates the implementation of this policy and analyzes its impacts on Indigenous maternal health. I focus on Indigenous maternal health because there is a disproportionately high maternal mortality rate among this ethnic group. Moreover, medical racism and distrust of biomedical practices in public hospitals often deters Indigenous women from attending these facilities. This policy is highly tailored towards the needs of Indigenous mothers. In order to analyze the impacts of this policy on Indigenous maternal health I conduct quantitative analysis on the maternal mortality ratio and number of births attended by skilled birth attendants in Ecuador since the implementation of the intercultural health care policy. I accessed this information from the World Data Bank. I also conducted qualitative analysis using case studies on intercultural healthcare facilities such as Hospital San Luis de Otavalo and the Jambi Huasi clinic in order to understand how the intercultural healthcare policy functions on the ground. Through my research I found that intercultural healthcare has had little impact on overall Indigenous maternal health due to lack of standardization. On the small scale level, the policy is benefitting Indigenous women in clinics with developed intercultural healthcare programs; however, this can be difficult to recognize because the program has provided more qualitative rather than quantitative impacts. Moreover, I concluded that the extreme lack of data about intercultural healthcare is an indicator that the intercultural healthcare program is not a priority of the Ecuadorian government. I assert that in order for this program to have a national impact, better data collection and more standardization is necessary. However, I also argue that the program is a worthwhile investment at any level because it provides more respectful and dignified care for Indigenous mothers.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.