Training for Women’s Health: A New Experience
Moza-Flaure Alcius (in the turquoise scrubs) Lamp for Haiti nurse
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I worked for two years at the clinic in Bwa Nèf, Cité Soleil. In addition to my normal nursing duties I was in charge of a nutrition program that involves treating children, from 0 to 5 years old, who are suffering from malnutrition. Then, a few months ago, I was invited to participate in a training program for midwives. The program is an initiative of an organization called Midwives for Haiti and is located in Hinche, a three hour drive north of Port-au-Prince. It is a 10 month program and I jumped at the chance to gain a different kind of experience and acquire new knowledge about health.
As with the other successful candidates, I went through an interview process in November, and started the courses in mid-January. There are 16 students in the course, 14 women and 2 men, all with different backgrounds and experiences. They come from many different places in Haiti. The courses are not hard and are becoming more and more captivating. They are based on obstetrics and community health and are taught in Creole.
On some days we learn theory in class, and on other days we are given practical training at the hospital. The practical work in the hospital is very helpful; it allows us to encounter cases that we have not yet learned about, and later we discuss these cases in class. We also participate in mobile clinics that may go to very remote areas. In these areas pregnant women may easily die due to complications, because of the lack of health services. We saw one patient in her fifties who had already had several children. She said that she was in her fourth or fifth month of pregnancy, but when we examined her and gave her a pregnancy test, we discovered that she was not pregnant. When we explained that she was going through menopause, she did not want to believe us and said she would consult someone else, because she knew she was pregnant.
Experiences like this show us how much we can offer; being a midwife is no small affair. Women without means, whether in remote areas or in Cité Soleil, need care to ensure that they have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. Pregnancy should not be a life-threatening affair because of a lack of care or lack of education. I am proud to take part in this program because it will permit me to do my part to reduce maternal mortality in Cité Soleil, to empower women to take control of their own childbearing, and to bring healthy babies into the world.