In Haiti, bringing a child into the world is often difficult and dangerous. For many mothers, health services are completely unaffordable. For others, medical centers are great distances from home and transportation is unreliable. For some, both are true.
When the time of delivery approaches, expecting mothers often choose either to give birth at home or to make long journeys on foot to a maternity center. Sometimes they are transported at night on stretchers or on the back of a motorcycle, through narrow and dangerous streets often controlled by gangs.
They often do not have the luxury of planning the birth, let alone meaningfully preparing for it. Labor can strike unexpectedly, even when a mother is going about her daily activities, forcing her to give birth on the street or to resort to a quack. This makes her risk of dying during or after childbirth very high.
Heartline’s Maternity Center recognizes this injustice and has provided quality maternal health care to pregnant women and new mothers since its inception.
“Here, we do eutocic births, which means births without complications,” explains Fredelyne, Clinic Administrator. “If during the process, we notice signs of a possible complication, we will refer the patient to the maternity units of specialized hospitals.” In the event the team recognizes an issue beyond their skill, they’ll provide transport to facilities that can offer advanced care.
On Thursday mornings, the Center welcomes a group of pregnant women for prenatal consultations.
The first consultation is mandatory, and aims first and foremost to clinically confirm the pregnancy. It begins with an interview to determine the medical-surgical, gyneco-obstetrical and family history of the expecting mother. The consultation continues with an examination, an ultrasound to observe the fetus and its heart movements, and blood tests.
Following the consultation, the group joins together for education sessions on breastfeeding, nutrition and infant care. At the end of the day, the medical team and mothers say a short prayer together.