Strengthening maternal health care: joint support from PAHO/WHO and UNFPA to Haitian health authorities

Mother who just gave birth to twins
PAHO/WHO | David Lorens Mentor

Port-au-Prince, April 23, 2024 (PAHO/WHO) - In support of the emergency response of the Ministry of Health and Population (MSPP), and with the aim of improving access to health care made increasingly difficult by the current security situation, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) are jointly supporting 3 hospitals in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area (ZMPAP) providing maternal health services.

Ensuring continuity of maternal health care

Maternity room at Eliazar Germain Hospital
Maternity room at Eliazar Germain Hospital

The Eliazar Germain Hospital is one of three centers benefiting from this support, which includes the supply of essential medical equipment and products, and the installation of a reliable power supply system, ensuring constant availability of electricity.

"The support of UNFPA and PAHO/WHO now enables us to provide essential obstetric and neonatal care, and to deal with emergencies at any time," explains Dr Francito Datus, the hospital's medical director.

Josépha, a young mother of 34, is a direct beneficiary of this partnership. She recently gave birth to twins, a girl and a boy, by Caesarean section. "It went well, I received very good care," she shares with relief.

Safer, less expensive care

Teams from UNFPA, PAHO/WHO & Hopital Eliazar Germain
Teams from UNFPA, PAHO/WHO & Hopital Eliazar Germain

"Faced with the deterioration in access to health services, particularly maternal health services, our support aims to increase the capacity to manage not only deliveries but also obstetric complications, thereby reducing the risk of maternal and newborn mortality," explains Dr Oscar Barreneche, PAHO/WHO Representative in Haiti.

Since the partnership was set up, 62 physiological deliveries and 45 caesarean sections have been recorded in the 3 beneficiary hospitals.

"Our aim is to reduce the cost of childbirth, and thus enable pregnant women to give birth in decent conditions in an institutional setting, in the presence of qualified personnel," emphasizes Philippe Degernier, UNFPA Representative in Haiti.

The two agencies have also extended their support beyond maternity services, responding to urgent needs in sexual and reproductive health. Kits for the management of abortion complications and kits for the management of sexual violence have been distributed for this purpose. These activities were made possible with the financial support of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) WHO's.