Second Mile Haiti, a non profit organization that helps reduce child and maternal morbidity and mortality, has requested US midwives with out-of-hospital birth experience to help mentor their Haitian midwives from March 1-April 15. The organization is opening a new maternity center March 1st. While the midwives who will be running the birth center have experience working in hospital settings, they do not have much experience in out-of-hospital settings. Because of my birth center and home birth experience, they have asked me to help mentor their midwives. This would include being available 24/7 for questions and clinical assistance. This mentorship is critical because it will give the Haitian midwives a skillset they currently do not have. Once they are comfortable in this new role, they will be able to mentor new Haitian midwives and help with keeping job opportunities for Haitian midwives and improving the longevity of the birth center.
It is estimated that about 67% of women in Haiti attend fewer than 4 prenatal visits because affordable maternity care is not readily available. Due to limited access of health care facilities and the financial costs with pregnancy and birth, many women birth at home and as few as 37% with a skilled birth attendant. The maternal morbidity and mortality rate related to pregnancy and birth in Haiti is the highest in the Western Hemisphere. Second Mile Haiti has developed a community-based maternity center in Milot that will give community access to prenatal care, family-based education and safe birth and thus help reduce maternal morbidity and mortality. Through our midwifery mentorship, the Haitian midwives and the birth center will have a positive impact on roughly 170,000 people.
As stated above, this mentorship is critical because it will give the Haitian midwives a skillset they currently do not have. Once they are comfortable in this new role, they will be able to mentor new Haitian midwives and help with keeping job opportunities for Haitian midwives and improving the longevity of the birth center. It will also improve health outcomes for tens of thousands of families in northern Haiti.
I helped mentor the local Haitian midwives at Second Mile Haiti Maternity Center. This process was interactive. We did obstetrical emergency drills, reviewed charts together and discussed induction of labor management and other management in an out-of-hospital setting. Much of the information was new for the midwives. My time was beneficial as it gave the midwives a platform for thinking outside of the box and learning how to think critically.