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.