There are no words for the trauma that Haitians continue to experience.
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More than a year into the still-raging pandemic in Haiti, and just weeks after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse this summer, southwestern Haiti experienced a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake followed by a tropical storm.
The maternal mortality rate in Haiti is the highest in the Western hemisphere. Due to a severe lack of skilled providers and well-equipped health facilities, most women give birth at home with limited access to basic and emergency obstetric care. The earthquake has displaced numerous families, damaged or destroyed health facilities, and shortages of supplies and food are rampant, amplifying challenges for pregnant people and mothers.
In the aftermath of the earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace last month, our grantee partners have mobilized to respond to the situation and ensure pregnant people and mothers continue to receive high quality care. To support their efforts and help meet the needs of our partners, Every Mother Counts issued an emergency grant to Maison de Naissance, an organization most directly affected by the earthquake. Every Mother Counts’ other grantee partners Midwives For Haiti and Foundation for the Advancement of Haitian Midwives (FAHM) have also stepped in to support midwives and birthing people across the southwestern region.
Maison de Naissance, in Torbeck, is located close to the earthquake’s epicenter in southwest Haiti. Many homes and rural hospitals in the region were heavily damaged or destroyed and small rural roads were rendered impassable. Maison de Naissance’s birth center was also heavily impacted, and most local staff lost their homes. Despite these challenges, Maison de Naissance mobilized quickly to secure food supplies and tents for shelter, and continues operations outdoors and in buildings deemed structurally sound. The organization is committed to resuming operations at their birth center as soon as it’s safe.
One of our longstanding grantee partners, Midwives for Haiti, is located in the central plateau, a region further from the earthquake’s epicenter. In response to the immense need in the southwestern region, Midwives For Haiti has deployed a rotating team of midwives to Torbeck to ensure that families most affected by the earthquake continue to receive high quality, compassionate care and to support midwives from Maison de Naissance so they can focus on their recovery efforts.
Our partners at Midwives For Haiti, recently wrote:
“If the saying ‘Where there’s life, there’s hope’ is true, then Haiti must be the most propitious place on Earth. New life, new mothers, new families…even with all the chaos, there is always hope.”
FAHM has stepped in to support Haitian midwives affected by the earthquake as well. 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 in the country. After the earthquake, FAHM has helped local midwives obtain essential supplies and psychosocial support, and continues collaborating closely with Haiti’s Professional Midwifery Association.
Our grantee partners still need your support. In addition to the large-scale earthquake recovery efforts needed in southwest Haiti, COVID-19 remains a significant threat throughout the country. Haiti was one of the last countries in the world to make the COVID-19 vaccine available, and the vast majority of the country remains unable to access vaccines. This is particularly concerning for pregnant people in Haiti, who are especially vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infection.