Global Birthing Home Foundation

The mission of Maison de Naissance is to improve health for mothers and babies in impoverished communities. Our challenge is to prevent maternal and infant deaths. Maternal and infant mortality rates in Haiti are among the highest in the world. The causes of mortality are both social and medical. We have therefore developed a model combining both social justice and medical excellence to prevent unnecessary deaths. Our strategy has been to recognize the barriers which deny healthcare to the poor and strive to overcome them. Maison de Naissance provides accessible...
Jul 10, 2014

Berneice's Story

A Happy Mom With a Healthy Baby
A Happy Mom With a Healthy Baby

The word “care” can mean many things. At Maison de Naissance (MN), it means that women receive counseling, education, medicines, lab tests, and loving attention every day, from expertly trained and dedicated members of our staff. It means that these elements of caring are provided without charge, and without discrimination, to all women who come to us. This is particularly important for women infected with HIV, the virus which can cause AIDS if left untreated.

In Haiti, as is true all over the world, there is a stigma attached to having a HIV positive test, and it can be difficult for a woman to accept the news. The counseling that accompanies this testing, both before and after, sets the stage for our mothers to understand that there is hope - that they can receive medications to help keep the virus under control, and to prevent their baby from becoming infected. Collaboration with the PEPFAR program at MN helps provide medication and the staff necessary to expertly complete the record keeping that insures all of our patients are tested, and all of the HIV positive mothers are given medicine in labor to keep their babies safe.

This is just one element of the care received at MN, but it’s a vital part of Berneice’s story:

Berneice’s husband was HIV positive when they met and married, but he did not share this news with her. She was thrilled when she became pregnant right away, and went to Maison de Naissance for an early prenatal visit. HIV/AIDS testing is a routine part of every pregnancy's first prenatal consultation.  Berneice was devastated to learn that she tested positive for the virus, having had no other partners besides her husband. She felt very alone, never having known anyone who survived with HIV. Her treatment, including nutrition counseling and a referral to the Mother's Club, began right away. 

After several visits to MN, she overcame the stigma of testing positive, and began connecting with the MN Mothers’ Club, where she met other women living with HIV and their healthy babies. They told her of their own experiences, and how the treatment worked to prevent transmission of the virus to their children.  Berneice was able to complete her course of daily medication, kept her nutrition up, pulled herself out of depression, and delivered a healthy baby boy with the help of MN's dedicated midwifery staff.

When Berneice brought her baby boy back for a well baby checkup, she proudly showed him off to the staff who turned her life around.

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Apr 17, 2014

One patient's story

Madeleine and her baby
Madeleine and her baby

What follows is a recurring theme when working in an impoverished, rural Haitian community, where maternal health professionals are everyday heroes.

Four days before Madeleine took her baby boy home from the hospital, she didn’t know if either of them would be alive by morning. Madeleine was eight months pregnant when she came to Maison de Naissance feeling very sick. Her head hurt, her hands and feet were swollen, she was seeing spots, and she had pain by her rib cage. She had been previously warned by her midwife and her community health worker to watch out for these symptoms of preeclampsia, a severe complication which can cause seizures, bleeding from a torn placenta, and even death of the mother and baby.

Though this was her first baby and she had been seen at MN only once, Madeleine knew her due date was a month off, and she was sure it wasn't time for her baby to come. As she rode the back of her neighbor’s motorbike along the bumpy dirt roads to MN, she became extremely worried. She wasn’t feeling the baby move as much today, and her head was hurting worse. By the time she arrived at MN, her blood pressure was very high and she was bleeding. The midwife who was seeing her recognized the symptoms, and provided medication to keep Madeleine from having a seizure, while an IV was started.

Grabbing a pack of supplies for a cesarean section, she accompanied Madeleine in the MN ambulance for drive into Les Cayes to the General Hospital, where a cesarean section could be performed. Thanks to the education that Madeleine received at her prenatal appointment with an MN midwife, she recognized the warning signs of preeclampsia. The quick work of her midwife ensured that she made it to the hospital in time to save the mother and her baby.  Just another day of midwifery in rural Haiti, providing life saving maternal health care services!

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Jan 23, 2014

MN Midwives Help Open a New Delivery Center

Late in 2013, we heard from our local partner, the Haitian Ministry of Health (MSPP), that they were completing the construction of a new deliver ward at the local public hospital in Les Cayes, the town closest to MN.  This was excellent news, as we occasionally had to refer a laboring mother to that facility if the delivery required surgical intervention.  The only problem, we were informed, was that they were unable to staff it.  This was in fact the perfect opportunity for MN.  For some time, we had been looking at ways to expand our patient capacity, but also needed to maintain costs.  We have always worked closely with MSPP, and one of our goals has always been to strengthen the local public health system by working with them as closely as possible.  As a result, we offered the services of our highly trained and experienced midwives to the public hospital, in return for salary sponsorships from MSPP.

The process is underway, and two of our midwives are already helping out in the new delivery ward, providing professional attended birthing services to a mostly new segment of the population that did not previously have ready access to them.  Another double win for MN - healthy mothers and healthy babies!

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