Friday, October 14, 2022

Decreasing Maternal Mortality in Haiti

Happy mother and child in Alma Mater Hospital
Obstetrics Unit

Haiti has the highest maternal mortality rate (529 deaths /100,000 live births) in the Western Hemisphere. Approximately one in eighty women will eventually die of a complication in pregnancy. These deaths are preventable because most Haitian women, particularly in rural areas, deliver at home without the benefit of a skilled birth attendant. Difficult mountainous terrain and the cost of medical care also prevent many rural women from accessing a hospital. 

Over a decade ago, Medicine For Peace partnered with the Alma Mater Hospital (AMH) to initiate a long-term women’s health program in rural Haiti. AMH provides health care for a population of approximately 130,000 people. The hospital is a 24 hour a day, 80-bed facility that houses an active obstetric unit staffed by physicians, nurses, a midwife, and community health workers. 

The obstetrics unit assists in the delivery of more than 700 births per year, and is capable of handling most obstetric emergencies, including performing Caesarian sections.

The focus of the Medicine For Peace maternal health initiative is to bring all expectant women to hospital for basic and emergency obstetric care. 

MFP Director, Dr. Michael Viola, said, “We have developed strong partnerships in every country where we have worked. Our relationship with Alma Mater Hospital has been a great benefit to the women of Gros Morne.”

Access to maternal care is one component of the MFP’s Comprehensive Women’s  Health Program which includes free gynecological care, cancer prevention and treatment, sexually transmitted infection treatment, palliative care, and health education. We have brought more than 10,000 women into the health care system.