Haiti: A new arrival in the family

Anna is on her first assignment as a nurse for MSF. She is working at a maternity clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, that takes care of women with pregnancy complications.

Since I arrived, I've been thinking a lot about my first nephew, who is due soon! I think of my brother and his wife who are obviously nervous, but in practice do not have to worry about how it will go, for either the mother (father) or the child.


They will not have to walk for hours to get to a health centre. If it’s a complicated birth, they won’t then wait even longer to possibly be able to get to a hospital that can help.
Anna's colleague Hiroko soothes a baby in Port-au-Prince

My colleague Hiroko soothes a baby on the ward in Port-au-Prince. Photo: Anna Blideman / MSF.

Even in the worst case, they are very unlikely to hear that the child didn’t survive. If my nephew arrives and needs a little bit of support to recover, some extra nourishment or help with breathing for a while, they can be secure in knowing that the baby will get the best care one can imagine.


Unfortunately, this is not the reality for most pregnant women in Haiti. One of fourteen children here may not experience their fifth birthday and one in eighty women die in pregnancy.
Many of the babies born in the hospital are very premature and weigh only around one kilogram.

Many of the babies are very premature and weigh only around one kilogram.

The hospital where I work is trying to change this by offering free medical care around the clock for women with severe pregnancy complications and to the tiny babies that are born.
While I’m angry that there are such differences in access to care, I am equally pleased to be working for such an important project. To even mention the different conditions seems inadequate, when we know how much work there is to do.
This blog originally appeared on the MSF Sweden website. You can read it in the original language here.