Providing Emergency Obstetric Care in Haiti


As part of an ongoing effort to strengthen emergency obstetric care in Haiti, Direct Relief is providing funding to complete construction of the fourth and final building in the Maternity Health Unit at the Convention Baptist Hospital in Quartier Morin, Haiti.

Access to emergency obstetric care is severely limited in Haiti, which has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the western hemisphere – 527 maternal mortalities per one hundred thousand live births. The central causes behind this harrowing statistic are delays in seeking care, in reaching a health facility, and in receiving the appropriate treatment at a health facility.

Direct Relief recently provided a $72,500 grant to Haiti Hospital Appeal (HHA), a U.K.-based organization working to improve the conditions at the Convention Baptist Hospital in Quartier Morin, Haiti. These funds will enable HHA to complete construction of the fourth and final building in the Maternity Health Unit that will contain an operating theater for obstetrical emergencies and two delivery rooms. The funds will also help purchase a suite of surgical, laboratory, and maternal equipment necessary to handle complicated deliveries and reduce maternal and infant mortality.

This final building will expand the existing Maternity Health Unit, which has public and private wards including 25 inpatient beds. The unit will provide the capacity to intervene and manage complications during delivery, including providing caesarean sections. The specialist skills of the health providers staffing this unit will also be vital in protecting the health of newborns in the existing neonatal unit. The unit will provide a range of crucial services for pregnant women before, during, and after delivery.

“The funding Direct Relief is providing towards the Haiti Hospital Appeal’s Maternity Unit will complete a four-year dream,” said Carwyn Hill, co-founder and president of Haiti Hospital Appeal. “Funding specialist equipment and completing the Unit’s final ward and birthing suites, will enable us to provide life-saving support with natural births, cesarean sections, and other obstetrical emergencies.”

The Maternity Health Unit is HHA’s largest single project within its broader maternal and child health program to reduce maternal and infant mortality and the risk of long-term disability that can occur during childbirth.  HHA is providing a collaborative and comprehensive service that will improve awareness of, access to, and quality of maternity services in the region.

Direct Relief provides medical material support to over 100 hospitals and health projects in Haiti through an extensive distribution program that has provided over 700 tons of medical material valued at more than $60 million since the January 2010 earthquake. In addition, Direct Relief has spent $1.5 million of the $6.5 million it received for Haiti to provide financial support for locally run Haitian organizations providing services to the residents of their communities—including $500,000 to Healing Hands for Haiti to set up a rehabilitation center for those permanently injured by the quake.

Direct Relief’s work in Haiti to provide emergency obstetric care reflects the organization’s worldwide commitment to reducing maternal mortality rates.

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