the need:  a MIDWIFE SHORTAGE in haiti

Midwives, when properly educated and supported, offer the most cost-effective and high-quality path to universal maternal health care. Yet midwives are in short supply in many developing countries. And the deficits are highest in the areas where needs are greatest.

Currently there is only one midwifery education program in all of Haiti, which is located in Port-au-Prince: Institut National Superior de Formation Sage Femme (INSFSF). Haiti has never had enough midwives to meet the needs of the population. After the earthquake of 2010, the gap widened and Haiti’s Ministry of Health (MSPP: Ministere de la Sante Publique et de la Population) committed to increase the number of professionally educated and trained midwives.

WHY:  midwives save lives

Well prepared midwives could help avert roughly two thirds of all maternal and newborn deaths, according to the most recent State of the World’s Midwifery report. They could also deliver 87 per cent of all essential sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health services. Yet only 42 per cent of people with midwifery skills work in the 73 countries where more than 90 per cent of all maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths occur.

The world has seen a steady decline in maternal and newborn deaths since 1990. Yet hundreds of thousands of women and newborns continue to die each year during pregnancy and childbirth. An estimated 303,000 women and about 3 million newborn babies died in 2015 alone. The vast majority lost their lives to complications and illnesses that could have been prevented with proper prenatal and delivery care – services provided by midwives.

The World Health Organization (WHO) advocates for “skilled care at every birth” by an accredited health professional, such as a midwife, doctor or nurse, who has been trained to manage uncomplicated pregnancies, deliveries and the immediate postnatal period. Skilled birth attendants also need to be able to identify complications and obtain timely emergency assistance.

As trusted health professionals, midwives play a critical role in averting maternal deaths and injuries, preventing newborn deaths, and collecting data when deaths do occur to help shape future responses. Midwives also help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.  See more

The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) support and promote "the urgent need to improve maternal and newborn health through investing in more midwives who are educated, trained and supported to international standards." They called for a global call to action in their 2014 publication "The State of the World's Midwifery 2014. A Universal Pathway. A Woman's Right to Health." They state: 

"To save the lives of more women and babies through quality midwifery, the following must be addressed by countries surveyed in the report:

  • Ensure that the midwifery workforce is supported by quality education, regulation and effective human and financial resource management.
  • Champion quality midwifery education programs.
  • Support regulation and legislation for midwifery practice.
  • Ensure that midwifery is prioritized in national health budgets and that all women are given universal financial protection."

where we do our work:  a snapshot of maternal and infant health in HAITI

Haiti is a Caribbean nation which spans 27, 750 square kilometers (10,710 square miles)and has a population of 11,021,406 (2017). There are many reasons women and infants in Haiti have such a high infant and maternal mortality rate: extreme poverty, poor health, faulty infrastructure, lack of professionally educated/skilled midwives and lack of access to health care. About half the population has no access to basic health services at all.

According to the World Bank, as of 2016, Haiti's child mortality statistics are as follows:

  • Under-five mortality rate (U5MR)= 68.9 deaths per 1000 live births
  • Infant mortality rate (IMR) = 48.2 deaths per 1000 live births
  • Neonatal mortality rate (NMR) = 18.6 deaths per 1000 live births


Haiti's maternal and neonatal mortality rates are equally high. UNICEF reports state maternal mortality in 2015 was estimated at 359 per 100,000; and as of 2015, statistics indicated that 2.5 per cent of newborns died within a month.
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