- Outpatient Visits: 20,000
- Maternity Deliveries: 700
- Well baby visits: 6,000
- Family planning clinic visits: 3,600
Target areas for sustainable impact:
- Reduce maternal and infant mortality through health education and deliveries attended by medical professionals at a safe inpatient clinic.
- Reduce child mortality rates through well baby clinics and primary healthcare visits for infants and children under 5 years.
- Increase both availability of services and demand for services by systematically reducing barriers that keep women from accessing and seeking care.
- Improve the training of traditional birth attendants, increasing their ability to identify and refer at-risk women for inpatient deliveries.
The Darbonne Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Clinic is a comprehensive, holistic center for maternal health located in the Léogâne district in Southwestern Haiti; it is about a four hour drive west from Port-au-Prince.
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world and the most dangerous place for a woman to give birth in the western hemisphere. The maternal mortality ratio in Haiti is 380 deaths per 100,00 live births as compared to 68:100,000, the average of other Caribbean countries. By far, the leading cause of these deaths is because a skilled medical professional was not available. According to US Government data, more than 75 percent of Haitian women deliver their babies at home (for women living in rural areas, which is most of Haiti, it is as high as 85%). More than half of all women giving birth at home do so without any skilled birth professional in attendance. For every 1,000 live births about 25 of these newborns will die before they are one month old; the overwhelming majority of these deaths are preventable through access to maternal health care.
Less than 20 percent of the population uses any method of family planning leading to high fertility rates. The birth rate in Haiti is 23 live births for every 1,000 women; the rate for Haitian teenagers is 69/1,000 – more than double that of teens in the US living just three hours away.
The underlying cause of all these troubling statistics is poverty. Poverty means Haitians lack access to healthcare, especially to well-trained doctors and nurses; they lack the resources to feed their families; they lack the funds to send their children to school. With a GDP per capita of $846, almost 60% of Haitians live below the national poverty line of $2.41/day and 24% live under the extreme poverty line of $1.23/day.
Many factors contribute to when or if a woman seeks professional maternal health care. While the simple availability of services is certainly key, women’s decisions are also greatly influenced by gender inequality, knowledge of health interventions, as well as mutual trust and respect between the woman and the provider established over time.
Establishing a maternal and child health center that is truly embedded into the fabric of women’s lives requires a thoughtful strategy that is both respectful of cultural norms but also capable of overcoming those norms which prove unsafe (such as delivery at home without a trained attendant). MCH has a three-year strategy to increase both availability of services and demand for services by systematically reducing barriers that keep women from accessing and seeking care. The Darbonne MCH Clinic is uniquely positioned for a successful maternal child health program for three reasons. One, the community recognizes the quality of primary care currently offered at this medical facility. Two Darbonne is affiliated with Hôpital Ste. Croix, a well- respected healthcare facility which will ensure the highest quality of medical staffing and training. And, three, Darbonne partners with the local Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, another credible source of compassionate services to the community. MBF is working with the MCH administration on a strategic plan aimed toward sustainability.
To achieve its goals to significantly change the health of women and children in the Léogâne region, the Darbonne MCH Clinic provides:
- Community Education to increase knowledge about life-saving maternal and child health interventions.
- Community support groups for women that will increase the likelihood of overcoming cultural barriers to seeking MCH services.
- Quality and compassionate medical care that includes:
- Antenatal care
- In-patient labor and delivery services staffed by a physician and nurse midwife
- Immunization for both pregnant women and infants/children
- Nutritional therapy for women and children who are malnourished or undernourished
- Comprehensive pediatric care for infants and children
- Family Planning Services