Young woman dies during labour

“My cousin died last night,” our manager Santo told me early on Sunday morning. "She gave birth to a healthy baby, but the placenta did not come out. This was her third child.” Santo’s cousin lives in Labadee, close to the beautiful Royal Caribbean Cruise ship port. It is a village which is more prosperous than other villages in Northern Haiti, due to the abundance of jobs provided by the cruise ship.
“My cousin died last night,” our manager Santo told me early on Sunday morning. "She gave birth to a healthy baby, but the placenta did not come out. This was her third child.”

Santo’s cousin lives in Labadee, close to the beautiful Royal Caribbean Cruise ship port. It is a village which is more prosperous than other villages in Northern Haiti, due to the abundance of jobs provided by the cruise ship.

Even so, the roads to Labadee are very poor, few people have vehicles, and the village has neither a doctor nor any form of emergency transport.

Santo explained that his cousin was fortunate to have had a traditional birth attendant (TBA), who had been training in a very good program provided by the Haitian government. However, in this circumstance the TBA was unable to deal with this obstetrical emergency.

Her family explained the problem in more detail. “We had to find money for a truck first. Then we were waiting for a truck to come from Cap Haitien (which is approximately 40 minutes drive). We called once and thought it was coming to pick her up. When it didn’t come, we called again, but no one answered. When the truck finally arrived, she had already lost too much blood.”

If you ask her family and friends why she died, they will give various reasons; however, no single answer is less relevant than the next. Each are intertwined and related, illuminating the complexities of maternal mortality in Haiti.

Although the barriers to obstetrical care are multifaceted, there are solutions and concrete ways to improve maternal health outcomes in Haiti.

Unfortunately, Santo’s cousin did not live close to Sante Pou Yo. If she did, her TBA could have brought her to our clinic, where our doctor and nurse could have assessed her, treated her and given her any necessary medications, or immediately transported her to a hospital with our truck ambulance. The family would not have had to waste time and collect funds, as it is well known that in obstetrical emergencies, Sante Pou Yo covers transportation and hospital costs.

Not only do we help in obstetrical emergencies, but our programs include prenatal outreach clinics and post partum home visits for all new mothers and babies. We try to connect early, in order to prevent as many emergencies as possible. These programs are very simple and meet their basic needs.

This is how Sante Pou Yo is saving lives. The problems may be be complex, but that does not mean the solutions have to be.

Alysha McFadden BSN, RN, CCHN(C)


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