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Helping In Haiti: Maternal Ward Saves Moms & Babies

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MIAMI (CBS4) — Most of the news out of Haiti recently has been about how the country is recovering from the devastating earthquake two and a half years ago.

CBS4 News Anchor Shannon Hori joined a group of South Floridians who recently traveled to a rural area of Haiti, not impacted directly by the earthquake.

The Central Plateau is about two hours north of Port-Au-Prince in the middle of the country.

It’s also the poorest region in the poorest country of the western hemisphere.  It has the highest infant and maternal mortality rate in Haiti.

One of the newest buildings in the Central Plateau is the new maternal health complex, recently built by Project Medishare.  Project Medishare is the non-profit started by two University of Miami doctors, Barth Green and Arthur Fournier.

When Shannon visited the facility, Marjorie Gabriel was about to become a mother for the first time.  Her midwife, Analia Alonza, wanted her to deliver the baby at the clinic fiercely that the 9-month pregnant Marjorie walked for four hours to get there.

“When I bring the women here it’s better for me,” Analia said.  “Because I don’t have supplies.  They can find IV’s.”

Eighty-percent of the women in the Central Plateau deliver their babies at home.  Haitian midwives might use a shoelace and razor blade to cut the umbilical cord.  Next to the maternal clinic, there is a house that will be used by the medical staff, meaning the clinic will be staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Marie Chery is the Country Director for Project Medishare.  She said the clinic is the result of focus groups with men and women in the Central Plateau.

“Unanimously they would say too many women are dying in childbirth,” Chery said. “So this clinic is the answer to the problem the community identified.”

The clinic also has the region’s first sonogram machine and it offers birth control to women in the area.  The average woman in the Central Plateau has seven children.

The clinic has done nearly 30 tubal ligations and five vasectomies.  It’s a small number but they consider that a success in a country where the smallest of victories must be counted.

Click here if you’d like more information about Project Medishare. You can donate time, or money. All of it is appreciated.

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