To increase access to skilled maternity care in Haiti by training Skilled Birth Attendants, and providing compassionate, culturally congruent maternity care.
After traveling to Haiti in 2003 as part of a medical team, Nadene Brunk, CNM, witnessed first hand the lack of resources and skilled care for pregnant women. Determined to provide a long term solution, Nadene formed a small team of volunteer midwives and medical professionals and soon returned to Haiti. At the request of a Haitian community leader, she established a culturally appropriate training program for Haitian nurses in Hinche.
Midwives For Haiti became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2006.
The area where we work is typical rural Haiti. The poverty is wide and deep. Only the best houses have metal roofs and concrete floors. Most homes have dirt floors and roofs that let in light and rain. Our first training site was an hour’s walk to the hospital, a decaying structure without running water, electricity, toilets or showers. The maternity wards were staffed by one obstetrician and one midwife. At night there was no one to care for patients. With so much in short supply few women were coming to the hospital because they did not feel safe there.
Today, the hospital is adequately staffed by 18 Skilled Birth Attendants, all graduates of the Midwives For Haiti program. Electricity and water are available most days and medication shortages are infrequent. There is still much room for improvement, but the hospital is now a place where lives are saved and learning occurs thanks to the support of not only Midwives For Haiti but also the Haiti Ministry of Population and Public Health and Partners in Health, an NGO healthcare provider. Each year, our SBAs and students attended over 2,200 births at Ste. Therese Hospital.
“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”
Over the years, our teaching program has evolved and improved. Our program in now 18 months long and conforms to the standards set out by the International Confederation of Midwives. Our students are all high level nurses, and our teaching is conducted almost exclusively by our Haitian professor.
HISTORY OF OUR PROGRAMS
Our first class of skilled birth attendants forms. Classes are held outside under a mango tree with few resources and teaching by volunteer midwives and obstetricians. When one class graduates, we soon begin training the next. Our applicants always exceed the number of students we can accommodate.
Our Mobile Prenatal Clinic began because the women of rural Haiti were not receiving the maternal care they required. Once we were able to upgrade from the pick-up truck to a custom built Jeep, we were able to extend our reach to the areas surrounding Hinche. The Pink Jeep is eventually replaced by a Land Cruiser, a pink one, however!
A team of six skilled birth attendants host 22 pre- and post-natal clinics each month in the Central Plateau region of Haiti and provide 6,000+ patient visits annually.
The Matròn Outreach Program is born out of an obvious need and desire for collaboration with traditional birth attendants. Incorporating these wise men and women, who attend the majority of birth in Haiti, is improving the maternal health care system that we continue to build in Hinche.
Our Postnatal Care Program at Hospital Ste. Therese begins and increases the number of mothers and infants receiving this life saving care from 1% to 93% within a single year.
In the fall of 2015, with the support of Every Mother Counts, we opened our first ever free standing rural birth center in Cabestor, Haiti. The Carrie Wortham Birth Center is already transforming the health of this remote community.
We mark our 10th anniversary working in Hinche and the graduation of our 8th class of skilled birth attendants, bringing our total graduates to 125.
There continues to be strong demand for our programs and we tirelessly continue to respond by supplying skills, care, and resources. Our home visit program begins for postpartum mothers and babies considered high-risk by the postpartum staff at Hospital Ste. Therese. Most of these visits are done by our volunteers, on motos.
We close the mobile clinic program, and start a collaborative program with the Ministry of Health, with our SBA’s providing weekly prenatal care in eight community clinics around the Central Plateau.
We expand the educational program to 18 months for Class 11. The total number of graduates is now 184.
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit and our EIN is 27-2368581. Learn about Our Funding.