The Healthy Mothers + Healthy Babies program continues to take shape as our new midwife, Magdala, lays the foundation for a strong and successful maternal health program.
Training the local matrons (traditional birth attendants) has become a top priority for the months of February and March. The goal of the trainings will be focused on how to identify high-risk pregnancies and deliveries, protocol around appropriate hygiene practices and delivery techniques.
Magdala also surveyed the community to gain a better understanding of the specific needs of women in the community. Combined with past community health surveys done by World Wide Village over the last several years, here are some of the results of those surveys.
60% of women surveyed delivered babies at home without a trained professional. Many of the women did deliver with the help of a matron, which is why the training of the matrons in the area is so important. Most of these women would have preferred to deliver at a hospital with a trained midwife or physician, but lack of resources and the long distance to the medical facilities prevented them from utilizing a trained professional.
We were pleased to see that 80% of women interviewed had at least one prenatal check-up before delivery, but a much smaller percentage of women met the minimum number of appointments recommended by the World Health Organization to promote a healthy pregnancy. Many women surveyed had only seen a healthcare provider once or twice during pregnancy.
The WWV Healthy Mothers + Healthy Babies Program plans to provide monthly appointments for expectant mothers. According to the World Health Organization, increasing the number of prenatal visits from four per pregnancy to eight per pregnancy could “reduce stillbirths by up to eight per 1,000 births.” This is great news for a country like Haiti that has the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the Western Hemisphere.
All of the women interviewed agreed that having affordable maternal healthcare right in their village will be a huge blessing!
40% of the women interviewed had their first child before the age of 20. Teenage pregnancy is very common in Haiti and perpetuates the cycle of poverty, especially in the rural areas. The Healthy Mothers + Healthy Babies program will prioritize awareness and education surrounding the issue of teen pregnancy, providing education in the schools and in the community.
One roadblock to this education will be the low literacy rate among expectant mothers. 60% of the women interviewed did not receive an education past primary school and 30% of the women reported not being able to read or write. Understanding this dynamic in the community will allow WWV to offer training that can be easily understood by all mothers – especially those who are uneducated.
A special thanks to everyone who has donated to the Healthy Mothers + Healthy Babies program. We are thrilled to see this dream become a reality and know that it will bless so many mothers and babies in Haiti. Mési!