With a population of 11 million, Haiti is a beautiful country with strong traditions of resistance and solidarity. Haiti is also the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Much of the country is rural and underdeveloped with a lack of infrastructure, environmental degradation, and no waste removal. Natural disasters such as the devastating 2010 earthquake, which claimed the lives of a quarter million people, have further impeded progress. There is also limited access to clean water, medical facilities or emergency transportation.
While there has been an increase in urbanization and centralization in Haiti’s capital of Port-Au-Prince, about 5 million of Haitians live rurally (UNICEF 2012). Due to geographic remoteness and socioeconomic status, many mothers in Haiti do not receive the care they require. 58% of births take place outside of health care facilities.
As a result, Haiti is the most dangerous country in the Western Hemisphere to give birth. Most of these maternal deaths are caused by eclampsia, sepsis, and postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding). In other words, most of these deaths are preventable.
Haiti also has the highest rates of infant and under-five mortality in the Western Hemisphere. Children who have lost their mothers are up to 10 times more likely to die prematurely than those who have not. -UNFPA
WHY SKILLED BIRTH ATTENDANTS?
“Skilled attendance at all births is considered to be the single most critical intervention for ensuring safe motherhood.” -UNFPA
Due to a lack of resources, infrastructure, and workforce attrition, Haiti has a severe shortage of skilled care providers. According to UNFPA (2014), there is one doctor for 8,000 inhabitants, one nurse for 6,000 inhabitants, and one midwife for 50,000 inhabitants.
Training Haitian nurses to become Skilled Birth Attendants is critical in reducing maternal and infant mortality. Although Haiti has made great strides in reducing maternal mortality since the global implementation of Millenium Development Goal (MDG) 5, Haiti needed an estimated 563 more Skilled Birth Attendants to reduce maternal mortality by 75%. This 2015 target was missed by a long shot.
“Ensuring skilled attendance at all births, backed by emergency obstetric care when needed, would reduce maternal deaths by 75%. That figure rises to about 90% if skilled health personnel play a full role during pregnancy, childbirth, and after birth.” –UNFPA
By ensuring all mothers in Haiti receive prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care, as well as reproductive health services, more mothers will be able to care to care for their families and break the cycle of poverty.
“We don’t want mothers to die. That’s why we’re here.” -Nadene Brunk, Founder