Cayman midwives to assist in Haiti

Cayman Islands Hospital midwives Mairead Campbell and Sue Doak are making preparations to return to Haiti to assist midwives with safe delivery and much needed medical supplies. 

The two midwives traveled to Hinche in central Haiti last year for two weeks with the American organization Midwives for Haiti and carried with them six suitcases of medical supplies donated by doctors in the Cayman Islands. 

The midwives, joined by newcomer Jenny Coleman, will return to Haiti for a month in January. 

“While I appreciate it is near Christmas time and people often struggle with providing for their families, we would love to hear from anybody who could give a monetary donation in their name or perhaps company name towards the trip. Any amount will be gratefully received which can buy one of various items on our wish list,” Ms Campbell said. 

The midwives would also like to hear from anybody who has baby clothing up until the age of 4 years, and they are especially in need of receiving blankets. 

New graduates  

Since their last visit, two classes of 19 students have graduated in Hinche and all are employed with the local hospital and in rural clinics, where they provide antenatal intrapartum and postnatal care and identify high-risk pregnancy for more than 700 women a month. 

“Education of the local midwives is key in reducing the mortality and morbidity rates of the laboring women and their babies,” Ms Campbell said. 

In Haiti, six in every 100 infants do not live to their first birthday. According to the World Health Organization, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and two-thirds of the population live on less than US$2 a day, so most mothers cannot afford antenatal care. Most give birth at home, and 76 percent of deliveries are carried out by unskilled helpers.  

One in 17 women die from childbirth complications, 15 percent of infants have low birth weight, one in four infants is constantly hungry or malnourished. 

Poor conditions   

When the midwives went to Hinche, they were at times overwhelmed by the poverty and lack of basic necessities, Ms Campbell said. 

She explained that when women came to the local hospital, they had just scraps of material to use for delivery and aftercare.  

No pain relief drugs were available, and limited emergency drugs for conditions such as preeclampsia and hemorrhages were on hand. There is also no running water in the postnatal wards and bathroom facilities at the hospital were limited. 

“When we think of the facilities we have here in Cayman, it is really is humbling to see the women of Hinche and how they just make the best of their situation.  

“It is also very joyful for us to see the Haitian midwives carry out their work and look after their community, using the skills we have helped instill though the Midwives for Haiti Program,” added Ms Campbell. 

On their last trip to Haiti, the midwives took with them medication, baby clothes and medical equipment. This time, Ms Campbell said, they are hoping to bring even more, including pain relief medication, emergency drugs, hospital equipment and school items for the rural clinics. 

The midwives thanked work colleagues, Cayman individuals and businesses for their generous donations.  

Those who wish to assist the midwives can contact the Maternity Unit on 244-2841, or email [email protected] 

Mairead-Campbell-and-Sue-Doak

Cayman Islands Hospital midwives Mairead Campbell, left, and Sue Doak are preparing to return to Haiti to assist midwives there.
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