This spring, 31 graduates of Midwives for Haiti’s rigorous 12-month training program for Haitian nurses to become Skilled Birth Attendants walked the aisle of graduation and received their Certificate in Essential Obstetrics from the Ministry of Public Health and Population.
In addition to their accreditation, each graduate was gifted their own set of instruments from Direct Relief Midwife Kits.
Direct Relief’s Midwife Kits are designed for use by trained health professionals and each kit provides essential supplies and medicines for approximately 50 normal births. In 2017, Direct Relief supplied Midwives for Haiti with Midwife Kits to equip their birthing center and six other healthcare facilities across the country that host their students for intensive clinical rotations.
The Midwife Kits ensured that the program’s students, and the healthcare providers they trained under, had the necessary equipment, supplies, and medicine to provide up to 1,650 safe deliveries.
Haiti has the highest rates of maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere. Many factors play into this statistic, but among them are the high rates of poverty, poor health infrastructure and lack of access to healthcare. At least 70 percent of Haitian women still deliver outside of a healthcare facility and without the assistance of a skilled birth attendant, such as a doctor, nurse, or midwife, who can recognize and treat complications that arise.
For those that do deliver under the care of a skilled birth attendant in a hospital or birthing center, much of their care is still dependent on the provider having access to proper supplies, equipment and medicine.
Much is being done around the country to address the various barriers to safe deliveries that Haitian women face.
Groups like Midwives for Haiti are working hard to ensure that the country has a properly trained workforce of skilled birth attendants to oversee deliveries in the healthcare facility setting. Direct Relief is dedicated to equipping these healthcare professionals with the tools necessary for providing the best care for their patients.
Since 2016, Direct Relief has provided nearly 200 midwife kits to hospitals, health centers and birthing centers around the country, equipping providers with the essentials for approximately 10,000 safe deliveries.