Haiti has the highest rates of infant, under-five and maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere. In a major effort to reduce maternal mortality and improve the health of moms and babies, Direct Relief International is providing medical equipment and supplies to boost the capacity at eight hospitals across Haiti. An estimated 60,000 pregnant women will receive quality medical care and have safe deliveries at these eight hospitals that extend in the far reaches of Haiti over the next three years.
The campaign was launched today in Haiti at Direct Relief’s warehouse in Port-au-Prince, where the organization welcomed administrators from the eight sites across the country that will be supported in the initiative. Direct Relief’s warehouse was jam packed with exam and operating room tables, sterilizers, diagnostic instruments, baby monitors, scales, IV stands, exam lights, ventilators, ultrasounds, and medications, as the organization prepares its initial distribution to the hospitals later this month. Direct Relief, which manages the world’s largest nonprofit program of free HIV tests for pregnant women, has committed to also providing 10,000 rapid HIV tests, ensuring all pregnant women get tested for HIV during their ante-natal care visits. In addition to the medications and medical equipment, Direct Relief is supplying hundreds of incentive kits to expectant moms, designed as a tool to encourage the women to attend their prenatal visits and to ensure that women deliver at a health facility.
“Direct Relief is committed to helping women in Haiti have safe pregnancies and deliveries. The upgraded medical equipment and supplies that these eight health centers are receiving will ensure that the skilled health providers have the tools they need, particularly for high-risk pregnancies and deliveries,” said Andrew MacCalla, Direct Relief’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager.
“For the healthcare providers, it was a mixture of amazement, shock, and joy to see these items that they’ll be putting to use in the two weeks. It was a great day,” added MacCalla.
Direct Relief now supports over 115 health facilities throughout the country with essential medical resources to care for people. See interactive map of Direct Relief’s work in Haiti .
Update 7/25/2012: Building Hope for Pregnant Women in Haiti