Thursday, May 5, 2011
ARTICLE - PINK JEEP DELIVERS PRENATAL CARE
A pink Jeep Wrangler, customized for rough terrain, approaches Darlegrand, a rural town two hours north of Hinche, Haiti. The Jeep, funded in part by the Rotary Club of Western Henrico County, Virginia, USA, serves as a mobile prenatal care unit for Midwives for Haiti. The Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, a donor advised fund set up by The Rotary Foundation, also provided support.
PINK JEEP DELIVERS PRENATAL CARE TO RURAL HAITI
(Rotary International) - www.rotary.org
A bright pink Jeep Wrangler, staffed with four midwives, races along uneven, dusty roads to reach more than 50 pregnant women in Darlegrand, a rural town two hours north of Hinche, Haiti.
The Jeep belongs to Midwives for Haiti , a nonprofit organization working to ensure that women in remote parts of the country have access to prenatal care and skilled birth attendants. Without the Jeep, many of the women, who have traveled to the daylong February clinic in Darlegrand, would not receive proper medical attention.
The Rotary Club of Western Henrico County, Virginia, USA, along with Bon Secours Health Systems and local individual donors, contributed a total of US$70,000 to purchase the Jeep, customized for rugged terrain. More than $20,000 of that amount came from the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, a donor advised fund set up by The Rotary Foundation.
Rotarians around the world are working to reduce maternal mortality rates and improve access to essential medical services for mothers and their children. Maternal and child health is one of Rotary's areas of focus .
More than 340,000 women worldwide die each year from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, most of them preventable. On 5 May, midwives and their supporters celebrate the International Day of the Midwife -- launched by the International Confederation of Midwives in 1992 -- to raise awareness of their role in reducing maternal and child mortality.
Nadene Brunk, founder and executive director of Midwives for Haiti, says long distances, inadequate transportation, and lack of information on basic prenatal care contribute to Haiti's maternal mortality rate, the highest in the Western Hemisphere. A Haitian woman's lifetime risk of dying in childbirth is 1 in 44.
The off-road vehicle allows the midwives to reach some of Haiti's most remote villages, says Brunk. "I believe Midwives for Haiti can expand so that every woman can have access to a skilled birth attendant."