The project seeks reduction in infant, new-born, and maternal mortality by increasing knowledge of and access to quality healthcare services, strengthening links between health facilities and communities, and strengthening Haiti Red Cross’ project management capacities. Haiti’s earthquake and cholera outbreak in 2010, two hurricanes in 2012, exacerbated circumstances in an already weak health system, which posted the highest infant mortality rates in the Caribbean. The South East Department particularly felt the brunt of disaster: 62% of its health facilities were destroyed or damaged in 2010. Here, many deliveries and maternal and neonatal deaths go unrecorded, but 49% of births are attended by untrained matrons and there is little access to care facilities due to distance, most of Haiti’s population lives in rural areas, cost, and insufficient facilities and staff. The project takes place in the communes of Bainet and Cote de Fer in Haiti’s South East Department. These areas were chosen based on high neonatal, new-born, and infant mortality rates and complementarities with other Haitian Red Cross projects.
The reduction of infant, new-born, and maternal mortality is achieved through employing the concept of maternal, new-born, and child health continuum care. This focuses on increasing service access for women and children before, during, and after pregnancy to support the development of positive health-seeking behaviours in women and in communities. Since communities are instrumental, local volunteers, facilitators and health workers are trained, mother’s clubs established, facilities refurbished, and health services organised and coordinated.
The main beneficiaries are women of child-bearing age and infants under one years old in the communes of bainet and Cote de Fer.