Haiti: The Future Is Female - Midwives For Haiti

Haiti: The Future Is Female


My mother was a matwòn, a traditional midwife with no formal training and I grew up observing births. In Haiti there are too many women who die from lack of skilled care. I wanted to learn how to save their lives. I first became an auxiliare nurse.

While I was a nurse I saw women come to the hospital too late. Sometimes they were brought after having seizures at home and they were in a coma. Sometimes they came because they had postpartum hemorrhage and had lost too much blood when they arrived. I remember one woman who had severe eclampsia and she died 45 minutes after she arrived because she came too late for us to save her. I wanted more information about how to save these women and how to educate them on danger signs. But to receive a good education is difficult in Haiti.

Without paying tuition, I received the education to be a skilled birth attendant from Midwives For Haiti in 2009 and 2010. Because of this education I am now a teacher of skilled birth attendants. I love my work. It not only gives me an opportunity for a better life, it trains other Haitian nurses in the skills to save the lives of mothers and babies.

When I look at my childhood friends who have not received this opportunity, I feel sad. They have little opportunity to change their lives. They have children they cannot feed or educate. Their lives are very hard. But I have a home, I have a motorcycle, I can take care of my family. I do not have to ask my husband for money.

I know my work is important. When Class 9 graduates in the new year, Midwives For Haiti will have trained 156 skilled birth attendants. Our graduates are working in hospitals and birth centers across Haiti.

Unfortunately, too many children still do not survive to take their first breaths or just as tragic their mothers do not live to hear their baby’s first cries. But I believe we can change this story. In fact, it already is changing. With every new skilled birth attendant I help educate we have the chance to save and improve the lives of hundreds, even thousands, more mothers and children each year.

Our graduates skills will not only save the lives of Haitian mothers and babies, their education will make their own life, and their families, healthier and happier as well.

Please take action now and help Midwives For Haiti continue this important work.

-Genette Thelusmond
Lead Preceptor + Class 2 Graduate
Midwives For Haiti/ Saj Fanm Pou Ayiti