Sunday, January 31, 2010

Giving Birth in Haiti

Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times

Who can turn away from Haiti right now? Haiti, which before the earthquake already suffered from the worst maternal mortality rates in the Western Hemisphere, is now much more vulnerable. The New York Times has an article and a slide show about birth in Haiti, and though they make no mention of midwives in the article, they are there. Circle of Health International is a wonderful organization of health care professionals and others, who focus on midwifery and training midwives in crisis situations. They are on the ground there now and you can read more about what they are doing here. Another midwifery organization in Haiti, is Robin Lim's organization Bumi Sehat, which was an instrumental part of Aceh's recovery after the 2004 tsunami. As a midwife trained out of the hospital, I feel that my training is so well suited to these situations. I don't need anything to be plugged in (except maybe a heating pad!), or beeping, to deliver a baby. We are able to deal with emergencies, as first responders, using our training and knowledge to maintain normal birth and to transport safely, if necessary. Our skills also extend to breast feeding initiation and support, a necessity when formula is not readily available. Please support midwives to deliver safe and effective care to the mothers of Haiti, for both immediate aid, and beyond.

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