Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is a household name in the United States, listed on products such as Band-Aids, Tylenol, Neutrogena skin products, and Acuvue contact lenses. Founded in 1886, this multi-national medical device, pharmaceutical, and consumer packaged goods manufacturing company has been so successful that its products are now known across the world. J&J believes strongly that “the world is its community and its citizenship is on a global stage.” With a strong belief in putting people first, J&J knows that “when healthy people and families thrive in healthier communities, everything else will follow.”
For over 20 years, J&J has been collaborating with Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (HAS) to improve the health of Haitians in the Artibonite Valley. Since 1996, J&J’s partnership has enriched and saved innumerable lives. From advancing treatment of individuals suffering from tuberculosis, to dramatically increasing the number of vaccines issued to children, to saving severely malnourished children and helping pregnant women thrive to raise their children, J&J has stood by HAS to serve countless beneficiaries in Haiti.
Women and children in Haiti are particularly vulnerable. According to the World Health Organization, women in Haiti face a 1 in 90 lifetime risk of maternal death, compared to 1 in 400 in Dominican Republic, and 1 in 3,800 in the United States. This risk is often due to lack of access to skilled care before, during, and after childbirth, as well as limited information and education about reproductive health. Also, according to the 2012 Haiti Mortality, Morbidity, and Service Utilization Survey, Haiti’s infant mortality rate remains the highest in the western hemisphere, with 59 out of every 1,000 children born dying before reaching their first birthday.
In an effort to advance maternal and infant health, HAS provides routine pre- and post-natal care and education through its community health centers, mobile clinics, and home visits by community health workers. It trains traditional birth attendants (matrones) with new skills to support labor and delivery in the community, and to recognize the signs of complications that require more specialized obstetric care, and to provide a critical link to that care. HAS is renowned for its high-risk obstetrics care, and it is one of the few hospitals in Haiti to provide it. Furthermore, because HAS is committed to the belief that children cannot be healthy if their mothers are not healthy, pediatrics and maternal health care are inextricably linked. HAS’ maternal health services link closely with its reproductive, newborn and child health services, ensuring complete and comprehensive care from adolescence, through pregnancy, childbirth, and the early days and years of life. This aligns with a global movement to better integrate services across the RMNCH (reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health) continuum.
J&J recognizes the importance of supporting the RMNCH continuum. In 2016, J&J worked with HAS to reduce maternal death and expand and improve access to quality maternal and newborn health services in our 610-square-mile area in the Artibonite Valley. Funding enabled us to provide indigent care through our subsidy program, implement in-service training for staff, sustain essential supportive services (such as laboratory and ultrasound), and procure medical supplies and commodities to avoid stock-outs, allowing HAS to meet the needs of an increasingly high-risk pregnancy patient load:
- Approximately 1,783 women were admitted to the high-risk maternity unit in 2016. Of these admissions, there were a total of 1,275 deliveries – 483 of which were cesarean sections (38%). Additionally, there were 1,114 deliveries in the community attended by HAS matrones (trained birth attendants).
- There were a total of 2,328 live births in 2016 – 1,220 live births at the hospital and 1,108 live births in the community.
- 15 maternity unit staff (nurses, nurses aides, midwives and OBGYNs) received refresher trainings related to obstetric emergencies (obstructed labor, post-partum hemorrhage, etc.)
- HAS was equipped to provide for an increasing level of complexity of patients admitted to the maternity unit (for example, 15% of women admitted to the maternity ward were diagnosed with either severe eclampsia or pre-eclampsia).
- The “rate” of stillbirths in 2016 was 8%, a reduction over the “rate” in 2015 of 11.2%.
Because of its reputation for providing quality emergency obstetrics care, HAS is recognized as a major referral center in the Artibonite Valley, and is definitely better equipped to prevent and reduce maternal and neonatal mortality rates in central Haiti. As a result of ongoing support from J&J, HAS is better positioned as a leader in high-risk maternity care in the region.