Wednesday, March 6

Being with woman in Rural Haiti

Being a Midwife means a lot of things to me. It literally translates to mean "with woman" and being with woman looks different everyday. Sure it means getting to attend births and sharing in the joy that is new life, but sometimes it means screening for cancer, helping women make choices to plan their family, or prescribing blood pressure medication. Other days it means listening to a women who carries many burdens, educating women on protecting themselves in relationships, or walking with a family through the loss of a baby. It means championing efforts to promote healthy lifestyles, healthy families and healthy communities, because women are worth it.  Here's a glimpse of what being a Midwife in rural Haiti has looked like this week.

Each month a new education topic is chosen for the bulletin boards in the patient waiting area in the clinic. Roughly 800 patients come through the clinic each week and as they pass through the line to be seen, a staff person gives a 15-20 minute talk on something relevant to public health education. This weekend I wrote some material and gathered information to create a presentation on "Danger Signs for Pregnant Women." I gave the first few presentations with a translator yesterday so that the staff person could learn the material and now she will give the talk for the rest of the month. We covered topics like eclampsia, hemorrhage, labor dystocia and signs of infections. The majority of women here give birth at home, and most births are not attended by anyone with skilled training. The challenge for me was looking at prevention of  obstetric emergencies and how you deal with them in a place with very limited resources and access to a higher level of care. We work with a very rural population and the closest hospital is 1-1.5 hours away, which makes dealing with potential emergencies very difficult. The best treatment in these situations is recognizing the danger signs early enough to get to a place where they can be taken care of.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

One of the patients asked me in front of the group what to do if a woman who lives in the mountains is having a baby come with the feet first? Being from the mountain means you are anywhere from a 1 hr-10 hr walk from the clinic here and even further from a hospital. This is a small glimpse of the dangers women face in Haiti. Praying that this teaching will fall on ears who will share what they have learned and it help save lives of women and babies in Haiti.