LiveBeyond
Nov 01, 2022 . 1 month ago

Maternal and Child Health in Haiti

Maternal, infant, and child health are three of the most important community health indicators in developed and developing nations. Many causes of death, disease, and disability related to maternal and child health are preventable and treatable. LiveBeyond has taken a stand against these health inequities through our Maternal Health Program. We see remarkable results, and the communities we serve are experiencing more significant health outcomes because of it! The maternal mortality rate has drastically decreased in our region of Haiti, infant birth weights have continued to increase, and a large percentage of the children in our area now receive nutritious meals each school day through our school nutrition program partnerships.

What can an emphasis on maternal and child health accomplish globally?

When women and children’s health is prioritized, the social fibers of communities are strengthened. 

Women who receive quality medical care before, during, and after pregnancy are more likely to receive treatment for complications, survive the delivery, deliver healthier babies and maintain overall healthier mental and physical well-being.

One way of prioritizing child health is by educating women on healthy lifestyle practices that protect children from bacteria, diseases, and harmful situations. Regular medical checkups also improve a child’s health by tracking proper development, diagnosing, and treating complications early. 

Medical attention to women and children can decrease maternal and infant mortalities. The health of women also plays a role in the economy. Healthy women can work; By working, women are helping provide financially for their families and helping the economy grow. 

A child’s health is also tied to home life and the economy. In developing countries, children are often responsible for helping their parents with household chores. When a child is healthy, they can make a small but essential contribution to the household. Most importantly, when a child is healthy, they can attend school. Attending school and getting an education means a child has more opportunities to have a good job later in life. A good job means they can financially help their family and contribute to the economy’s growth too.

The well-being of nuclear families and economies all around the world is intrinsically tied to the health of women and children. When women’s and children’s health is prioritized, households and economies see short- and long-term benefits. 

Maternal Health in Haiti

Haiti has the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western hemisphere. According to UNICEF, in 2017, Haiti experienced 480 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. That means 1 out of 208 women in Haiti will die in childbirth (UNICEF). As a result of our efforts, LiveBeyond has seen a 73% decrease in maternal mortality in our region of Thomazeau. 

Infant mortality rates are also quite staggering in Haiti. In 2020, for every 1,000 live births, there were 47 infant deaths. Unfortunately, the number increases for children under the age of five; For every 1,000 live births, there are 60 deaths among children under the age of five (UNICEF). The infant services LiveBeyond provides in Thomazeau are making a difference. The infant mortality rate has decreased by 50% since the inception of our Maternal Health Program. 

LiveBeyond is also working to decrease the number of low birthweight infants born in our area. It is estimated that 23% of newborn infants in Haiti meet the criteria of low birthweight, weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces at birth (ReliefWeb). By providing nutritious food, medical care, and education to pregnant mothers, we are simultaneously improving the mother and baby’s health. A healthy and strong mother is more likely to give birth to a healthy and strong baby. 

Maternal health education is an essential part of decreasing maternal and infant mortality. Women who receive care at LiveBeyond are learning healthy lifestyle skills that will improve their health and their families’ overall health outcomes. Women learn about maternal health, how to properly care for their babies, and healthy nutrition for both.

Adequate nutrition is key to good health in mothers. LiveBeyond provides mothers who attend weekly maternal health checkups with food, nutrition, and prenatal vitamins. Clean water is also essential to a mother’s health. We have been able to provide 100% of our region of Thomazeau with clean water wells. LiveBeyond is dedicated to providing food security and access to sanitary water to the people of Haiti.

In Haiti, access to health care is hard to come by, especially in rural communities. The maternal health initiative at LiveBeyond has served thousands of mothers and babies. The LiveBeyond hospital and staff have made it possible for 100% of the Thomazeau population to have access to quality health care. LiveBeyond employs Haitian medical staff and coordinates medical training to further medical knowledge and skills. Providing quality medical care to pregnant women and children has had a positive impact in Thomazeau. 

LiveBeyond is working hard to decrease the maternal mortality rate in Haiti. Through the maternal health program, we serve expecting mothers and infants throughout pregnancy and postpartum for the child’s first 1000 days of life. Mother and child receive regular checkups, maternal health education, medical care, and nutritional food supplies. 

Child Health in Haiti

Through the LiveBeyond school, we are working hard to give children access to a free, quality education that sets them up for success in the workforce as adults. Our students receive excellent academic instruction as well as learn about God, the Bible, and loving their neighbors. Children attend the LiveBeyond school free of charge and receive free uniforms, school materials, and a nutritious meal. 

According to UNICEF, nearly half of all deaths in children under five can be attributed to undernutrition. This is why LiveBeyond is determined to provide food to all children in our target area. In 2012, 10% of the children in Thomazeau, Haiti, were severely malnourished and considered underweight. LiveBeyond provides meals to children in the LiveBeyond school and other area schools in the community. We are currently providing 7,000+ meals to students every weekday. Adequate nutrition during children’s formative years is essential to optimize brain development, physical growth, and avoid many degenerative complications. 

LiveBeyond wants to provide food security for all children in Thomazeau. In order to do so, we have partnered with local schools to provide daily meals and regular medical checkups to their students too. All children deserve access to education, nutritious food, and medical care. 

Children of all abilities deserve the opportunity to thrive. But as is often the case, children with disabilities in Haiti rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to go to school. That is why LiveBeyond created the Johnny’s Kids program. Through this program, LiveBeyond is able to provide children with disabilities in the Thomazeau community with a safe and inclusive program to receive a quality education.  

Ways to get involved – Support maternal and child health

With your ongoing support, we can continue improving maternal and child health in Thomazeau, Haiti. We ask that you join us to increase our impact for the good of all women and children in underserved areas. 

We are fast approaching the holiday season, and Giving Tuesday is a wonderful opportunity for you to join our efforts in Haiti. Every donation, no matter how big or small, counts. And every donation makes a difference!

As we draw close to the end of 2022, consider making an end-of-year donation. Your partnership can help provide nutritious meals, medical care, maternal healthcare, and education for children of all abilities.

 

References

Country Profile. (2020, February 6). UNICEF DATA. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from 

https://data.unicef.org/country/hti/

Haiti : Profile of preterm and low birth weight prevention and care – Haiti. (2015, November 17). 

ReliefWeb. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://reliefweb.int/report/haiti/haiti-profile-preterm-and-low-birth-weight-prevention-and-care

Maternal and Child Health. (n.d.). U.S. Agency For International Development. Retrieved 

October 19, 2022, from https://www.usaid.gov/global-health/health-areas/maternal-and-child-health

Maternal, Infant, & Child Health | Gates Foundation. (n.d.). Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.gatesfoundation.org/our-work/programs/gender-equality/maternal-newborn-and-child-health

Subscribe to the

LiveBeyond blog!

Hear the latest news from Haiti, read posts about faith and community development, and find transcriptions from the LiveBeyond podcast.

We will never share your email address. Ever.

LiveBeyond is a registered 501(c)(3)
nonprofit organization