I will be spending this summer studying factors that affect infant health in the indigenous Ngöbe population of Costa Rica and Panama. After studying abroad in Costa Rica and completing a maternal health research project in the Ngöbe territory, I worked with local health authorities to design this current project to continue identifying ways to improve Ngöbe maternal and child health.
While Ngöbe infant mortality rates are already higher than national rates, the migrant Ngöbe population that comes from Panama to Costa Rica each year for temporary work during the coffee harvests has been identified as suffering a particularly high infant mortality rate. During the next three months, I'll be conducting interviews with Costa Rican, Panamian, and migrant Ngöbe mothers to understand each group's particular circumstances of care access for infants and their care-seeking behaviors.
I hope to ultimately identify possible factors contributing to the high infant mortality rate among Ngöbe migrants and develop a plan of response that can be implemented in the region to improve Ngöbe infant health statistics and increase mothers' access to care.