UNDERSTANDING SKILLED BIRTH ATTENDANTS IN HAITI
What is Midwives for Haiti and what is the Nadene Brunk Eads School?
Midwives for Haiti is a registered nonprofit with several programs all working towards our mission of expanding skilled maternity care in Haiti. The Nadene Brunk Eads School is the central genesis of it all.
Annually, we accept a new class of infirmiere nurses who have graduated from an accredited program and want to expand their education in maternal care. The Nadene Brunk Eads School curriculum is an accelerated and challenging program that currently runs for 14 months and includes 500 hours of classroom time and 750 hours of supervised clinical experiences in hospitals, birth centers, clinics and homes. The curriculum is built around the Core Abilities of a Skilled Birth Attendant as defined by WHO. The Nadene Brunk Eads School’s goal is to use a context, resource, and culturally appropriate curriculum with a focus on saving lives.
During the 18 months of didactic and clinical training, our students master the skills required to provide prenatal care, postnatal care, deliveries, and other related community maternity health services. Following graduation they are prepared to take on a full range of skilled maternity care, as well as family planning.
After graduation, we offer continuing education classes to all of our graduates to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.
Where are you located?
Our school, offices, and main clinical site, St. Therese Hospital, are all located in Hinche in the Central Plateau region of Haiti.
Why skilled birth attendants?
Maternal, neonatal and infant mortality remain a vast problem in Haiti. In Haiti, midwives are currently trained at the central government school for midwifery in Port au Prince (National School for Nurse Midwives). There are no other tiers of maternal care education offered by the Haitian government.
The government school attracts candidates with more resources, many of whom wish to remain in a city setting or leave the country entirely after their training. The approach of the Nadene Brunk Eads School is very different. The Nadene Brunk Eads School carefully selects candidates from rural communities with the goal that they return to their hometown after training to become an advocate and resource for skilled maternity care.
As of 2019, Midwives for Haiti has trained 184 skilled birth attendants. Of that number, only 8 have left Haiti. Comparatively, of 425 midwives currently holding diplomas from the government school, more than half have emigrated to other countries. In February of 2018 we graduated a new class of 31 making our graduates about 30% of the skilled providers working in Haiti.
In a report authored by International Confederation of Midwives and the UN after the 2010 earthquake, the use of skilled birth attendants, and Midwives for Haiti in particular, was highlighted as a program successfully ameliorating the maternity health crisis in Haiti.
How can I partner with Midwives for Haiti?
Send us a student:
If you are interested in sending a nurse from your area that you feel has the academic ability and the compassion for women that skilled birth attendants need, please contact us. We accept applicants that hold a diploma from an accredited infirmiere school. The process includes an application of CV and certificates, a skills and didactic exam, and an interview.
Accepted students pay no tuition but they must be able to live in the same town as our classroom site for one year.
The current class will graduate in February 2021. We will accept applicants for the next class in 2021.
Sponsor a student:
Support from donors enables us to offer our training free of cost for students. Contact us for rates on how to support a skilled birth attendant during her or his training.
Hire a graduate:
We have skilled birth attendants ready to work in several locations throughout Haiti. They are able to offer the following services at clinics, hospitals, birth centers, mobile clinics, and for short-term medical assistance teams:
- Skilled Maternal Services including:
- Prenatal and postnatal care
- Home Visits
- Maternal health and sexual health education
- Newborn Care, Family Planning
- Community Assessment
- The majority of Central Plateau maternal health occurs at the community level: at home, in mobile NGO led clinics and birth centers as well as government-run maternal health clinics. Our new graduates are able to provide community health services after concluding a multi-sectored, multi-disciplinary, culturally appropriate and collaborative assessment training in the communities where women live. The skilled birth attendant is able to engage the community to identify maternal health problems and community resources, offer treatment and education, and develop a relationship with a referral hospital.
- Matwon Training
- Matwons (matrones in French) are not midwives or skilled birth attendants: they are Haiti’s traditional birth attendants and they attend most home births (over 60% of all births). Because of the reality of matwons attending most births, our graduates are able to conduct matwon training sessions to educate matwons in many subject areas. Frequently the matwons are illiterate and innumerate, therefore a special curriculum must be used to efficiently convey the key points of maternal health and emergencies. The curriculum is built around oral teaching, including use of pictures and models, and teaching songs to help memorize safe birth practices. Our graduates are trained to offer the 22 session-curriculum to groups of matwons local to your area.
Support a graduate:
Support from donors allows us to support the work of skilled birth attendants in areas where the government or another organization are not able to provide a salary. Contact us for rates on how to support the salary of a skilled birth attendant so that she or he can continue to provide rural maternity care services.
Midwives for Haiti contacts:
In the US:
Executive Director: Jane Drichta firstname.lastname@example.org
Sponsorships: Brett Hoag email@example.com
Programs and Partnerships Director: Mariot Cleophat firstname.lastname@example.org
Program Manager: Peterson Benitot email@example.com