MOBILE CLINIC SAVES LIVES
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world and has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the Western hemisphere. The chances of a woman dying due to pregnancy and childbirth in Haiti are estimated to be one in 80, compared to the region-wide risk of one in 510. According to the World Health Organization, skilled care during pregnancy and delivery could change these statistics radically.
Midwives for Haiti (M4H) is one of the few organizations working to reduce maternal and infant mortality in the Central plateau area, one of the poorest regions in Haiti. To address the shortage of professionally-trained birth attendants in Haiti, M4H works with the Ministry of Health to provide obstetrics training to Haitian auxiliary nurses so they can attend births. Twenty-five midwives graduate each year, and M4H deploys many of them, making an important contribution to addressing the scarcity of trained medical personnel.
MAR has awarded M4H yearly grants since 2013 to support a mobile clinic in the form of a fully-equipped bright pink Jeep that brings four midwives to 16 of the remotest communities. With more midwives on staff, the programme has expanded to previously unserved villages and has reached greater numbers of expectant and new mothers. In areas where the roads are poor or non-existent and the Jeep cannot pass, the midwives travel by motorcycle. The mobile clinic makes an average of 13,000 prenatal check-ups and refers at-risk women to delivery at nearby St. Therese hospital in Hinche, where MAR has also sponsored a midwife and post-natal services. Data shows that women in the M4H catchment area are increasingly inclined to attend regular check-ups before and after their babies are born.
Magdala, a standout graduate of the M4H midwife-training program, has worked in the mobile clinic since its inception:
“We are saving so many lives in the countryside … the mobile clinic is a fulfilling job because I get to help the families that have the least access to care … We appreciate MAR for helping us, together we are giving care to lots of moms and babies”