In Haiti the majority of births take place at home with the assistance of traditional birth assistants (TBAs). TBAs are familiar members of the community and provide services at a cost that poor households can afford. TBAs, however, do not have the skills or equipment to manage complications when they arise. And there is no public ambulance to call in Cap-Haitien to transport the women to a medical facility.
In partnership with TBAs, community members, and local health centers, Konbit Sante is piloting a project that identifies and provides transportation for pregnant women experiencing emergency complications during childbirth. Konbit Sante staff trains TBAs to recognize the onset of complications. Each is provided a phone and is paired with at least two community members with cars. When called, these community members respond immediately to provide women transport to the nearest health center that offers emergency obstetrical services.
Since the start of this project in January 2011, nearly 20 maternal deaths or injuries have been avoided as a result of this project. This is only one way that Konbit Sante and our partners are working to improve maternal and child health in northern Haiti.