Doctors of the world has been present in Haiti since 1996. By working on a daily basis with national and local actors in Haiti, we are able to build a bridge between communities and health institutions in order to improve access to health care. Doctors of the world relies on a network of multi-purpose community health workers (MCHWs), who represent the first link in the health care chain. This direct involvement in communities in highly vulnerable situations allows us, among other things, to support the health system in the care of malnourished children, in the vaccination of children and in the monitoring and counselling of pregnant women. It also allows us to expand the support network for women and mothers by establishing a dialogue between the “matrones” (traditional birth attendants), the MCHWs and the staff of the health institutions, which facilitates the referral of pregnant women to these institutions.
Sexual and reproductive health and rights
Haiti has a maternal mortality rate 50 times higher than Canada. The geographic distance to reach facilities is one of the main causes of this sad record: it takes women an average of 3 hours, on dangerous tracks, to reach a health center. In addition, women are reluctant to go to health institutions, as the reception and care are often inadequate. Women prefer to go to traditional birth attendants (matrons), who are close to where they live and offer support during and after childbirth. However, the care provided by the birth attendants can be insufficient, especially in the event of complications.
Doctors of the world has built up a relationship of trust with the Haitian communities and health structures. Today, Doctors of the world continues to work in this sector to reduce maternal and infant mortality by supporting health structures and communities. In total, more than 230,000 people are benefiting from this program through various means:
- Improving sexual and reproductive health and the health of mothers, newborns and children
- Prevention and management of gender-based violence
- Raising awareness about risky sexual behavior among adolescents
Areas of intervention: Port-au-Prince (Cité Soleil), Artibonite, Haut Nord-Ouest
Fight against malnutrition
Good nutrition is an essential prerequisite for the survival, development and future of children. In this regard, the situation in Haiti is critical. In 2015, more than one in two people were in a situation of poverty (less than $2.41 per day) and approximately 70% of the Haitian population was in a situation of chronic food insecurity. The North-West department is particularly affected by this problem, with more than 20% of the population suffering from severe chronic food insecurity.
- Malnutrition increases the risk of contracting severe diseases
- Severe acute malnutrition affects 2.1%[i] of children under the age of 5 (the WHO emergency threshold is 2%)
- Chronic malnutrition affects 11.4% of children under the age of 5
- Malnutrition in a child aged 0 to 2 years causes physical and cognitive damage that is largely irreversible
Doctors of the world is working to reduce global malnutrition in children under the age of 5 through a 3-year project in partnership with Initiative Développement. The phenomenon of malnutrition and its consequences are still largely unknown and Doctors of the world is working with community actors and health departments to reach more than 215,000 people through :
- Prevention and treatment of illness and malnutrition in children
- Prevention and promotion of healthy nutritional behaviors among mothers and their children
- Strengthening the health system
Areas of intervention: Port-au-Prince (Cité Soleil), Haut Nord-Ouest
Fight against COVID-19
Since July 2020 , Doctors of the world has been involved in the response to COVID-19 in Haiti in coordination with the health authorities through the reinforcement of control and prevention measures for the pandemic in health institutions and in communities.
To ensure the proper management of the pandemic, Doctors of the world is strengthening the following areas
- Provision of protective equipment to hospital workers
- Creation of triage stations and isolation zones
- Training health care providers on COVID-19
- Raising community awareness about COVID-19 and hygiene rules
- Maintaining of essential health services
- Psychosocial support for frontline staff
Areas of intervention: Cité Soleil (West), Nippes and North West