Up to 75 percent of births in HAS’s service area, as in the rest of Haiti, are at home. HAS is therefore working to bring pre- and post-natal care to the community through an integrated system of care that extends into the communities served by the hospital.
Community sensitization coupled with education for women of reproductive age covering the risk factors for preeclampsia/eclampsia, signs and symptoms of the disease and the importance of pre- and antenatal care help reduce the risk of pregnancy complications like preeclampsia/eclampsia, placenta previa, and peripartum cardiomyopathy.
The hospital’s community health services focus on prevention and screening. In terms of maternal health, this means reaching as many women as possible before, during, and after pregnancy. Through continuous health posts, home visits, and mothers’ clubs organized by community health workers throughout our service area, women are encouraged to attend at least three prenatal visits and one post-natal visit, although many attend more. Health workers reach the entire service area each month through health posts, through a total of 200 posts.
Additionally, our health workers conduct home visits for pregnant women, teach them about the importance of prenatal care and refer them to the nearest health center, and help each woman to develop a birth plan and connect her with a local traditional birth attendant (matrone). Personal contact with community health workers reduces barriers to accessing services and to education about ways to improve maternal and child health.
Our high-risk obstetrics services at the hospital focus on at-risk pregnancies. When a potential complication is detected by a community health worker or at a health clinic, the woman is referred to the hospital for the remainder of her pre- and post-natal care. The hospital delivers an average of 1,000 babies per year, 30 percent of which are delivered via Cesarean section to maximize the health and safety of mother and child.
Thanks to the efforts of our excellent staff at all levels, nearly 100 percent of women in the hospital’s service area receive prenatal screenings by trained personnel, compared to 90 percent throughout Haiti as a whole. HAS provides some 600 OB/GYN monthly consultations at the hospital, 790 prenatal consultations per month at the hospital’s four remote health clinics, and an average of 65 more among rotating mobile clinics designed to reach those in the areas that are hardest to access.
During pregnancy and up to 90 days after giving birth, women in our service area receive vitamins that can help to ensure maximum health for the mother and the baby. For example, Vitamin A deficiency, in part from lack of proper nutrition, is a risk for pregnant women in Haiti and can lead to a host of pregnancy complications and even maternal death. Almost 90 percent of pregnant mothers received a Vitamin A supplement from HAS within two months of their last pregnancy. HAS also distributes iron to all women of reproductive age (10-49), and prenatal vitamins donated from Vitamin Angels to all pregnant and lactating women.
Importantly, care does not end after the baby is born. While in Haiti only 13 percent of new mothers receive a post-natal visit by appropriately qualified healthcare personnel within the first three days of giving birth, approximately 75 percent of new mothers in our service area receive post-natal home visits by community health workers within this crucial three-day post-birth period, and even more visits occur beyond the three-day mark to ensure a healthy start to life here in the Lower Artibonite Valley.
This Mother’s Day we honor the women of the Artibonite, and thank our supporters for making their care possible.