The maternal mortality rate in Haiti is the highest in the Western hemisphere. Due to a severe lack of trained skilled providers and well-equipped health facilities, the majority of women give birth at home with limited access to basic and emergency obstetric care.
In addition to its shortage of skilled birth attendants, Haiti’s existing midwives have few opportunities for professional development, supplemental training and a support network advocating for them at the national level. Our partners’ work is focused on training skilled midwives, supporting their continued education and development, and connecting them with the women that need them.
The United Nations has classified Haiti as one of nine countries worldwide facing a severe midwifery workforce shortage. Our partners in Haiti are tackling the midwifery shortage by increasing both the number and the efficacy of midwives. Their rigorous training programs have graduated nearly 30 percent of the country’s professional maternal healthcare workforce.
Our support extends beyond training to facilitate and provide leadership and networking opportunities for midwives throughout Haiti with the goal of raising awareness about the important role they play while uplifting their professional status. Our work also focuses on advocating for Haiti’s government to train, license and regulate midwifery as a key step towards moving the needle on maternal health in the country.
Due to the country’s poor health infrastructure, nearly one-fifth of women in rural areas do not have access to a health facility that offers basic maternity care. We currently support the provision of maternity care services at a hospital, birth center, and rural community clinics, as well as the strengthening of referral services systems in hard-to-reach rural areas.
Midwives for Haiti offers a rigorous 18-month training program for Haitian nurses to become skilled birth attendants. They provide comprehensive maternity care services in hard to reach areas at St. Therese Hospital and the Carrie WorthamBirth Center with additional outreach through their rural community health clinics and their matwon (traditional midwifery) training program.
Along with the professional association of Haitian Nurse Midwives (the Association des Infirmières Sages-Femmes d’Haiti, or AISFH), FAHM provides mentorship and organizes continuing education, training, and networking opportunities for midwives throughout Haiti, with the aim of advancing awareness and regulation of the field, and to elevate their professional status.
We also use storytelling, filmmaking, and data and research to share challenges, opportunities and advocacy goals. Watch our 4 part series The Making of a Midwife from Haiti below.