Our new program, the building of a birthing center and the development and implementation of a more comprehensive maternal and infant health program, is our current response to a critical need. Haiti has the highest maternal and infant mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world for both mothers and infants. As in much of Haiti, many of the women in the area we serve do not have access to prenatal, birth, and post partum care. Many Haitian women, living in poverty, have little or no prenatal care and their babies are delivered at home under the care of family members or traditional birth attendants (matrones). There are several life threatening conditions related to childbirth that can be prevented and treated when free, comprehensive maternal and infant health services are available. When a woman dies in child birth, her children are 10 times more likely to die before the age of 5 years old. It is well known around the world that healthy women make for healthy families and that healthy families contribute to the health of the entire community.
Our clinic will provide a safe place for Haitian women to receive compassionate and respectful prenatal, birth, postpartum and gynecological care at the hands of skilled Haitian midwives with emergency transportation when needed. It will be open to all women who seek womens health services and will include care of the infant throughout the postpartum period. It will be part of a community healthcare center, built next to an existing primary care clinic, where community members receive healthcare, education, and support. Education is a key component, teaching women and families about prenatal health and nutrition, hygiene, childbirth, childcare, breast feeding and family planning.