In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, many of us wondered what we could do to help. As midwives, we knew we had a skill to offer to the people.
Haiti has the highest infant, under-five, and maternal mortality rate in the Western hemisphere.
Out of every 1,000 children born alive, 57 die before their first birthdays (by comparison, in the US the rate is 7 per thousand). And according to UNICEF’s 2005 statistics the maternal death rate is 670 per 100, 000 births, a rate that puts it closer to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Just across the border in the Dominican Republic the maternal mortality rate is 150 per 100,000.
And these statistics are from before the earthquake! It will be some time before we know the full impact of that disaster on the Haitian population.
After the earthquake, midwives from all over the world travelled to Haiti to help in any way they could. After witnessing the conditions there, a group of midwives from Oregon decided that there had to be a better way– and there had to be more options for women in Haiti to give birth in sanitary, humane locations, staffed by professionals. They decided to open a birth center in Haiti and have been working hard on that project ever since.
Take a look at the website they have set up to learn more about it:
And please, if you can, help! They need more funding to make this dream a reality. If you can help, any amount will make a difference for this birth center, and for these women.