Great Uncertainty, Extreme Shortages in Haiti: A Report from the Field
Updated: Jul 17, 2021
Since Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in his Post-au-Prince home on July 7th, Haitian citizens in our four Network partner communities have again been thrown into a stressful, confusing and unsettling period. As if it weren’t enough to face a second wave of Covid cases with no one being vaccinated, not even health care professionals. The first shipment of 500,000 doses from the US arrived July 14th via the WHO COVAX program.
Here is a report from four regions of Haiti, where local staff and patients are often afraid to go back and forth to the birth center or clinic because of emboldened gang violence and new political unrest. Against this backdrop, babies are still being born. The real heroes and heroines in our story remain the courageous staff of Maison de Naissance birth center, two MamaBaby Haiti midwifery centers, Hispanola Health Partners’ 24/7 clinic and community outreach, and Midwives for Haiti teams who operate a midwifery school and remote mobile clinics, and staff the St. Therese Hospital maternity in Hinche.
The Executive Directors have just shared these updates, with an implied or direct request for assistance, perhaps needed now more than ever. Please consider giving directly if you are able, knowing all funds will help meet most urgent local needs and are tax deductible.
Hispanola Health Partners (HHP, southeast Haiti, near the Dominican Republic border) report from Louise Lindenmeyr, after talking with Haitian colleagues:
"Although HHP is concerned about the worsening political crisis in Haiti and its related ramifications on its citizens, we are pleased that our clinic and its outreach programs are proceeding as usual, and that our staff and patients are safe and well. We hope a more peaceful and democratic outcome might emerge from these tumultuous times."
Maison de Naissance (MN,“Birth Home” in southwest Haiti, near Les Cayes) update from Jim Grant, ED after speaking with Director Rosena Baptiste and their facilities manager: “While we are not affected directly by the troubles in Port-au-Prince, once again commerce to the outlying regions is at a standstill. In the Les Cayes area, almost all gas stations are closed because fuel is not being delivered. The ambulance is being held for extreme emergencies only. Food is still available, but the prices are the highest they have ever been. MN has food supplies for malnourished babies and mothers, but no other food. Nevertheless, they are operating 24/7 as always, and I know they will persevere and find a way to keep going no matter what.” Jim is now looking for a way to fly to Les Cayes with urgently needed medicine. It is too dangerous to fly into the capital and travel overland.
MamaBaby Haiti (northern coast, Cap Haitien and LasCahobas): “Everything is very expensive right now. We are trying to have an emergency supply of food, medication and medical supplies, since what will happen to the supply and the economy in the coming days and weeks is unknown. Birth is happening day and night at MamaBaby! More than ever the women are flocking to our gates, and every new day brings a line of people waiting for care from the skilled midwives. We are bursting at the seams, and just next door, the construction continues as we work toward putting a roof on the first floor of the new birth center.” They hope to raise $15,000 US to finish the first floor and $5,000 for emergency food, medication, and supplies.
Midwives for Haiti (central plateau, near Hinche): ED Jane Drichta writes, “We are having a rather rough time with all the shortages and stockouts. I just spoke to our Country Director Mariot Cleophat, who says: ‘This is hell. We cannot source our medical supplies, either in Hinche or Port Au Prince. We cannot get many items that we desperately need. Medical supplies, propane, gas…there is nothing anywhere.’”
Thank you for holding our neighbors to the South in your hearts. Heartfelt thanks also to the four busy executive directors who took time to share the current situation with us.