Giving birth should not be a life risking event. But in many countries like Haiti many women suffer numerous morbidities and even lose their lives while bringing life into this world. In fact, the maternal mortality rate in Haiti has been reported as 680 deaths per 100,000 live births.1 This is quite high compared to the rate of 17.4 per 100,000 live births in the United States.2 In addition, infant mortality in Haiti is 51.772 deaths per 1,000 live births3 compared to that of 5.68 deaths per 1,000 live births in the US4.
To address some of these disparities The Dalton Foundation in partnership with The Haiti Health Network has initiated two new programs to support women and children in Haiti. One way (not discussed here) is to map, inventory, and strengthen NICUs throughout Haiti to ensure the tiniest of lives have a fighting chance at life. The second way is to provide midwives and other frontline providers with fetal dopplers so they can identify pregnancy complications early and get women the help they need to safely deliver these difficult pregnancies and save lives.
In early 2021 The Dalton Foundation, thanks to our partner The DAK Foundation, shipped 23 new fetal doppler units to Haiti Health Network partners that employ midwives throughout Haiti. Five organizations that offer services in 6 of the 10 departments in Haiti received these units and delivered them to their midwives. The impact stories have just started to come in and we are very encouraged by the reports and impact these units are having.
Jane Drichta, Executive Director of Midwives for Haiti an organization that trains and employs skilled birth attendants and matwons that work all over Haiti sent us this follow – up story.
Woman presented in labor at 31 weeks. She was contracting pretty hard and was also bleeding quite heavily, so we suspected an abruption, which is where the placenta comes away from the uterine wall. They can be very dangerous, and the baby often dies if not delivered immediately. We were able to pick up a heartbeat with the doppler and discovered THREE heartbeats! It was found that she had TRIPLETS! Crazy, right? The mother was rushed into surgery for a c section and three healthy, but small babies were delivered. In addition, Midwives for Haiti was able to support her after the surgery and supply her with a meal a day to get her nutrition back up. I also donated blood for her, as her hemoglobin was extremely low. Thank you so much again for the dopplers. They really are lifesaving, as this mother’s story shows!
Jim Grant with Maison de Naissance in Southern Haiti shared with us that their in-country director reported, “The dopplers are very useful, they are used in mobile clinics, in on campus clinics, and in the delivery room. Many thanks to you and the Dalton Foundation for this gift!”
Dr. Roberto Peigne with Centre Sante de Commune de Grand Gosier that is supported by Hispanola Health Partners shared that the team was thrilled to receive the monitors and they put the units to use immediately upon arrival.
We’ll continue to follow up with our partners to ensure the units continue to work well and get data on how many women are served and share more impact stories. A big thanks to The DAK Foundation in Australia for their donation and for partnering with us on this project!