We recently sat down with Genette Thelusmond, Class 3 graduate and MFH teacher, in her home to hear about her life as a midwife in Haiti. The following are excerpts of our conversation.
MFH: Tell me about yourself. Why did you want to be a midwife?
GT: I’m the 2nd of 8 children and I was born at home with a matwon. It means a lot for me to be a midwife. My mom was a matwon (traditional birth attendant) and I saw many births with her. Being a matwon is important. But they don’t always have training. I became a nurse. But being a nurse is not enough, I wanted more skills. I graduated in the 3rd class of Midwives For Haiti. Then I became a teacher for the program.
MFH: What do you love the most about being a midwife?
GT: Providing the best care. And also receiving money for my work. If I can take care of myself then I can take care of others.
MFH: Midwives For Haiti has been in Hinche for 10 years. You’ve lived in Hinche and worked at the hospital here before we arrived. And you’ve worked with us for many of those years. Can you talk about any changes you’ve seen over the years?
GT: There has been a lot of progress! MFH is important for Haiti. There have been so many improvements and the graduates are very well trained. Our graduates are getting more recognition. They are welcomed all over the country and they get respect. And the mobile clinic, so many lives have been saved. Women are getting the education that they need to save their own life. They learn when to get to a hospital. So many lives have been improved.
MFH: Before we arrived, the hospital only saw about 2% of the births in this catchment area. As of a couple years ago, that number is now 28%. Why do you think more women are coming to give birth here?
GT: Now, women come from the north, all over the country, even where there are hospitals for them there, they come to Hinche because the word has spread. MFH is giving the best care. Our graduates have the wisdom to talk to the patient. The women feel comfortable with them.
MFH: What would you like to see next from MFH?
GT: There is a strong demand for the program and it’s services. I want MFH to open more training programs in other parts of the country and to open more birth centers! The people in Cabestor <the site of our first rural birth center> are going to feel like they can survive. They were sinking and now the birth center is there. People will live.
MFH: What would you like our supporters to know?
GT: I love this program because of all the volunteers from the U.S. and other places who come here to offer their support and knowledge. MFH also hires staff and graduates, they provide many jobs, and jobs are hard to find here, and because the results are good- our graduates have a very high employment rate.
Learn more about Genette’s speech and how she is making a difference for so many.