Haiti: When mothers die

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.

A while ago in the Swedish news, the main headline was that a woman and her baby died during delivery. It’s terrible and should not have happened. But it shouldn’t happen here either.

I wish that every time a woman and child die here in Haiti, it would get the same attention.

Photo of a patient arriving at the MSF hospital in Port-au-Prince via ambulance

A patient arriving at the MSF hospital in Port-au-Prince via ambulance. Photo: Shiho Fukada / MSF

Each month, between two and four women die; usually it's because they simply come to us too late, and which means their complications are already too for advanced for us to save them.

These women are textbook examples of why women in countries like Haiti die prematurely.

They are often young, haven’t had access to education about sex and pregnancy risks, haven’t had the opportunity to get antenatal check-ups, they live far away from real, well-equipped hospitals, and the health centres they can get to may not be able to provide them with adequate care or even admit them.

When a mother dies, it is not only a member of the family who is lost - a parent is lost too. And when a parent dies, the position of her children becomes precarious - in many cases here the result is that the child may die too.

This blog first appeared on the MSF Sweden site. You can read it in the original Swedish here.