I just got back from central Haiti, an area with the country’s highest rates of malnutrition, poverty, fertility, and child & infant mortality. When our ministry partner there, Project Medishare, polled community members to gauge the greatest health problems, it was the men who said, “Too many of our women are dying in childbirth!”
Why are they dying? Well, the majority of women deliver their babies at home with the help of traditional midwives. But most midwives are not adequately trained and have no supplies; and most homes in the area have dirt floors and no running water. Not quite the epitome of health and sanitation, but it’s all these people have had available to them.
To improve conditions, Project Medishare now provides the local midwives free training and supplies. In return, they are asked to bring mothers in labor to Medishare’s new birthing center. There, moms can give birth in a sterile environment with state-of-the-art equipment and medical professionals on standby should they be needed.
When people were asked to name the main health problem in their Central Haitian villages, the men ranked maternal mortality number one.
Take this outreach to pregnant women, add programs to improve water, education, nutrition and health — including those funded by Cross Catholic Outreach. Combine them with the enthusiastic involvement of the local community, and you have a recipe for positive change in Central Haiti!